David hungered and thirsted for God’s presence because he knew from experience that God and fullness of joy dwelt together. Life apart from God was stressful, scary, and dangerous. My life has had stresses, but nothing compared to his! Having had a taste of the Presence at an early age, I have been pursuing God ever since. I have discovered an important key to access that joy. There are other keys, but today I am going to focus on only one, and encourage you to try it.
I have struggled to fulfill the exhortation to give thanks and praise. Having grown up with a Dad who was a pessimist, although he saw himself as a realist, I was trained to see the negative rather than the positive. Only uneducated simpletons saw life through rose colored glasses, and I didn't want to be classified as one of those! This early training left me in the school of mind renewal for decades. I witnessed others who excelled in positivity, joy, thankfulness and encouragement, while I failed to pass.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has continued my tutoring. He knows my desire to be in the Presence of God and has convinced me of the value of thankfulness, the key to Presence. He reminded me of the words from Psalm 100:4: “enter His gates with thanksgiving.” This is not a suggestion, but a requirement for entrance into His realm. Not just any key will open the gates. The only way to open the lock on these gates is with the key of thanksgiving.
Of course, my mind wanted to know why. The Holy Spirit was gracious to give revelation. He showed me that gates are the boundary to God’s kingdom. The atmosphere, language and currency of that kingdom is truth. Only things based on truth are allowed to enter. Pessimistic, judgmental, and critical thoughts or words are based on lies, not on truth. That means I am not allowed access into His Presence with words and thoughts based on lies, but only with words of thanksgiving and praise based on the truth. Pessimism doesn't praise. I realized I had a choice: stay negative and remain outside His Presence, or give thanks and enter in. I am learning to enter his gates every day with thanksgiving!
As a tool to grow in gratitude, I keep a daily journal, which I call “Daily 12”. This is a list of 12 things for which I am thankful. This exercise helps prime the pump and open the gates. Recently I have started daily Instagram post titled “Every day - Entering with Thanksgiving.” Check it out if you need a daily shot of thankfulness!
I would love to hear from you: how do you cultivate thankfulness in your day-to-day life? What things are you most thankful for right now?