We all complain from time to time, whether it’s about the weather, traffic or the lines at the grocery store. However, when we’re constantly grumbling, discontent, or unhappy, we probably need to break free from a spirit of ungratefulness. The truth is ungratefulness highlights the negative, skipping over God’s blessings and emphasizing life’s problems. Typically, it repels those we love most because nobody wants to be around it.

Most people have complained and grumbled their whole lives, but God has been gracious in helping them recognize damaging thought patterns and turn them into praise patterns. If you feel tied to a spirit of ungratefulness, here are some biblical ways to break free.

Acknowledge that it’s a problem.

Part of being trapped in an ungrateful perspective is that we gloss over the seriousness of it. In one of the saddest Bible passages, 2 Timothy 3:1-2, we read that there will be terrible times in the last days and that people will become selfish, boastful, and greedy. This is only part of the passage that goes on to say that we should have nothing to do with these kinds of people. When we look at our tendencies toward ungratefulness, we’re immediately convinced there must be a better way, and there is. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read that we should thank God for everything and pray continually.

Acknowledging that ungratefulness isn’t part of God’s will for our lives is the first step in escaping it. The good news is that God is our help. As David prayed in Psalm 51, let our prayer be like David’s as we ask God to create a pure heart in us, renew our Spirit, and restore the joy of our salvation. These are great things to be grateful for.

Realize that it affects others.

It’s easy to believe that our sin struggles only affect us, but any unchecked sin will eventually seep into the lives of others, especially those we’re closest to. For example, most young mothers are overwhelmed and don’t handle things well. Imagine overhearing your child playing with their toys and having them tell each other that his mom is mad and mean; it can be heartbreaking. Your sin issue was affecting those you loved most, and something has to change. We can break free from an ungrateful spirit when we realize how it’s affecting others.

This might include being known as the pessimist in the family, negatively influencing your kids, causing others to avoid you, and making your spouse feel like they can’t do anything right. The moment you realize how your ungratefulness is negatively affecting others, you can choose to take action. It’ll take some intentionality, but the Holy Spirit will help you break free.

Assert that it doesn’t define you.

Typically, when we believe we can’t change something about ourselves, we let it define us. We begin to believe it’s who we are, but nothing could be further from the truth. We were created in God’s image in all holiness and righteousness. Our ungrateful spirits don’t align with His Spirit, who lives in us. Once we assert that ungratefulness is a false notion of who we are, we can move past it into who we were made to be.

What does God say about you? Who did He make you to be? Today, declare that the spirit of ungratefulness doesn’t have a place in your life. The words “complainer” or “pessimist” don’t define you. Only God’s covering through Jesus defines who you are and who you were meant to be. Stand firm in your true identity and watch the chains of ungratefulness break.

Reverse your thinking.

There’s a lot of discussion about mindset today, which is the way we believe and think. While most of the world sees it from a psychological perspective, there’s a biblical perspective that makes sense. Some verses that address our mindset are Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24, and Philippians 4:8. An ungrateful spirit doesn’t stand a chance against the truth of God’s Word. By meditating on these passages, we can reverse our thinking patterns and overcome negative trends. Remember, the Bible is active, living, and powerful enough to change us from the inside out.

Remember to count your blessings.

You may remember singing an old hymn called “Count Your Blessings,” written by Johnson Oatman in 1897. Verse one reminds us to count our blessings and name them one by one when we start feeling discouraged, and we’ll be surprised by what the Lord has done.

The thought of counting your blessings in the face of ungratefulness may sound easy, but it’s one of the fastest ways out of a negative cycle. By naming aloud the things God has done for us, we’re chasing away feelings of unhappiness and replacing them with praise and gratitude.

We can’t thank the Lord enough. His mercies are renewed every morning, and His blessings are too numerous to count. From the healing of a loved one to running water under the tap and every blessing in between, we have multiple things to be grateful for. Break free from a spirit of ungratefulness and live in the freedom you have in Jesus. His Spirit lives in us and changes us more and more into His likeness. Declare that this problem doesn’t define you anymore, nor does it influence your loved ones. Before long, you’ll be the one who praises God in every situation, and that sounds like freedom.

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