Believe it or not, gratitude has been proven to have a positive effect on your social relationships, outlook on life and personal well-being and health. This includes our sleep, less worry, resistance to depression, and getting rid of stress.

You could define gratitude as: realizing the good things that we get to experience and enjoy outside of ourselves.

Psalm 100 says, Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

There are several levels of gratitude, each one higher than the one before. If you think of your level of thankfulness like a tank, you want to make sure your Thank Tank is totally full!

The First Level of Thanks Is a Habit.

We’ve all seen a parent prompting a child by saying, “What do you say?” and the child responds, “Thank you.” It’s a good way to teach a child—but we should never have to remind believers by saying, “What do you say to the goodness of God?” Thanksgiving should come from hearts so filled with gratitude we can’t help but say, “Thanks.”

A habit is something we do without even thinking about it. And it’s not a bad thing to live naturally and automatically grateful. One example of this is pausing before you eat to pray or praying every night before you drift off to sleep.

The Second Level of Thanks Is Worship.

Thankfulness was an important part of Old Testament worship. The Old Testament is filled with examples of personal and group thanksgiving. It is also found all through the New Testament. You see it in Jesus’ life, in the writers of the New Testament, and in the life of the early Christians. Even today, we regularly say “Thanks,” to God through our worship celebrations in our songs, prayers, and sermons.

When you are thankful, you are worshipping God with your heart, mind, and your words.

The Third Level of Thanks Is Faith.

Thankfulness is believing that all of your past blessings came from God; that all of your present blessings are from God, and that all of your future blessings will come from God.

The Fourth Level of Thanks Is Love.

Love means we never take the blessings God brings our way for granted. It also means that we never take the One who gives us those blessings for granted. Remember, love is not just a feeling, but we express love through what we say and what we do.

It’s better to thank God out of habit than not to thank Him at all. It’s good to thank God in worship, better to thank Him from faith, best of all to thank Him from a heart of love.