You’ve heard the saying, “Follow your heart.” We yell it from the rooftops when we want the permission to follow our own way. Scripture has a different message. Following our heart tends to focus us on what we don’t have and what we want to have. Having a thankful heart reminds us what we do have, which often leads to a change of heart.

1. A thankful heart cultivates a loving heart.

When our hearts are fixed on thanking the Lord for what He has provided, we have a heart that loves Him more and in turn loves others. Marriages change. Friendships change. Families change. Ultimately, lives change. Luke 10:27 charges us to love the Lord with all our hearts. It’s amazing how a heart committed to loving leads to even more loving. Sometimes our biggest hurdle in loving the Lord with all our hearts is the reality that we have followed our hearts to things other than Jesus. And anything other than Jesus, even a good thing, can hold our hearts captive from experiencing the fullness of love the Lord desires for us. Our idols keep us from loving God with all our hearts. But as we choose to be thankful, our idols loose their slippery grip, our hearts change, and we become marked by love.

2. A thankful heart changes our loyalty.

When we focus on following our own way, our loyalty is first to ourselves and our own needs and wants. We are hardwired to sin. It’s been that way since The Fall. Choosing ourselves comes naturally. Choosing Jesus and putting the needs of others above our own is a choice, a commitment. In the same way a thankful heart cultivates love, choosing gratitude also changes our loyalty. We become people who would rather give than receive (Acts 20:35). We would rather count others as more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). A thankful heart changes our loyalty to others.

3. A thankful heart identifies our Lordship.

Psalm 9:1 says that a heart fully focused on thanking the Lord causes us to tell of all He’s done. That kind of heart is also quick to recognize His goodness and His gifts (Psalm 28:7). It is a heart and life marked by joy. A thankful heart focused points to our Lordship. He is God, and we are not. What a reason to give thanks!

Focusing on gratitude changes our hearts. It changes our love, loyalty, and Lordship. It changes our whole being and in turn our lives. The Lord tells us to give thanks for His glory, but also for our good. He truly has our best at heart. What better reason to give Him all of your heart.