My Conditionally Grateful Heart
by Derek Maul
Published on March 23, 2022
Categories: Inspiration

My Conditionally Grateful Heart

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 I have noticed something about myself that needs attention. This is not unusual for a writer, as self-examination is a natural part of the process, but this particular observation is – currently – uniquely challenging.

I have been thinking about gratitude, and the idea of a thankful heart. In particular my thoughts have turned to aphorisms such as “Count your blessings, name them one by one…” I often reference this practice – the idea that we pay attention to what is good and that we should always “count our blessings”, and respond to God accordingly.

That’s fine. But what needs attention in me is how limited this concept is turns out to be. Where I am being challenged goes much further. “Give thanks,” Paul writes in the oldest extant New Testament writing we have, “In all circumstances. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 In other words, now that we know Jesus, God’s expectation is that we practice gratitude at all times.

Not just being thankful for the good stuff. Not looking hard for evidences of grace and then responding to that. Not simply being more aware of our blessings.

What I’m talking about is a disciplined, intentional, deliberate gratitude that permeates who we are and begins to define us as people of faith, people who rest confidently in the hope that is ours in Jesus.

This needs more of my attention. It also needs my intention.

Where do you find yourself in this regard? Is your soul at peace?



Derek is a North Carolina-based writer, journalist, teacher and speaker. He is the author of numerous books on what the Bible reveals as essential in becoming a man of God.

He is convinced that his four grandchildren are exactly the hope and promise that this world needs. His conviction is important to understand because it reveals a lot about his theology, and how he believes our identity as God’s children plays out in the day-to-day experience of living in a world where darkness, disappointment, and defeat are all too common.

He is a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life. His passion is to connect people – men and women – with a more vibrant, authentic experience of what he calls “The Life-Charged Life.”

If you would like to read more, check out his author page at Amazon. Also check out his website and his daily blog.

 Reading Between The Lines, With Derek Maul is published every Wednesday on Christian Grandfather Magazine.



1 Comment

  1. Patrick Brown

    I Totally agree with with statement: disciplined, intentional, deliberate gratitude. Is my soul at rest? Technically, but I keep praying for God’s intervention about Ukraine defeating the Russians and delivering us from all of the disasters going on in America and elsewhere. I will continue my faith no longer how long it takes for this to happen.
    Matthew 25:35-36, 40 (NIV) God wants our lives to overflow with mercy, love, and compassion — the marks of His kingdom. As followers of Jesus, we have a choice: respond to unsettling realities in fear and withdraw, or follow Him in responding to the greatest needs of our day with love and hope.


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