How often do we pray to see God bigger in our lives? Yes, we believe. But oh, if He would answer more prayers or show us what to do in more situations, how greater our faith would be!
Yet, the Bible teaches that instead of waiting for God to magnify Himself to us, there is something that we can do every day to see Him bigger in our lives. “I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalms 69:30) Thanking the Lord works like a magnifying glass, making Him larger and greater in our hearts.
What About Hard Times?
Some may say, “Sure, it’s easy to give thanks when everything is going well. But what about when everything seems to be going wrong?”
The answer lies in the surrounding verses of the above Scripture. Was everything going well in David’s life? He cried out, “Save me, oh God! I sink in the miry depths. The floods engulf me. I’m worn out, my throat is parched, and my eyes fail. I have more enemies than the hairs on my head. They seek to destroy me. I weep and fast and get mocked by all, from the elders at the gate to the drunkards in song. Answer me, oh Lord, come near and rescue me!”
Upon seeing this context of thanksgiving, some may think, “Well, thank the Lord for my first-world problems! Things are going wrong all around me, but nothing like David’s troubles.”
Changing Our Focus
Yet, when David changed his focus from his pain to the Lord’s salvation, he began to praise and magnify God with thanksgiving. Where once He cried for the Lord to answer, he began to see God a lot bigger in coming to His rescue.
David finished the psalm with rejoicing, “My thanksgiving will please Him more than any animal sacrifice. The Lord does indeed hear the needy. Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and all that move in them!” Thanksgiving turned his thoughts from complaining about every bad thing happening in his life to praising God.
Without intentionally giving God thanks, our minds will naturally slide down the slippery slope of complaints, criticism, and condemnation. It is natural to be adversely affected by all the negative things around us. However, we have the power to choose what we will focus on. When things come tumbling down around us, we can redirect our thoughts to the benefits of God. When we look back on all God’s blessings to us, we begin to say, “My goodness, God truly has been big in my life!”
Three Simple Steps
We can take three simple steps to magnify God in our lives with thanksgiving. We can 1) remember, 2) humble ourselves before God, and 3) spend time in reflection.
First, we need to remember how God has blessed us. “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalms 103:2) The Hebrew word for “forget” means “ignore, wither, to cease to care.”
Moses used the same word “forget” in warning the Israelites. “Only take heed, and guard your life diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your mind and heart all the days of your life.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Moses understood human nature. If we ignore and stop caring about what God has done for us, His blessings will slip from our minds and hearts. To remember God’s benefits is to guard our lives diligently.
The second step in magnifying God is to humble ourselves before Him. The opposite of humility is pride. Would you describe a prideful person as being thankful? Certainly not. However, when we are humble, we acknowledge that God gave us everything we have and thank Him.
The third step in magnifying God is to take time for reflection. When we get caught up in busy activities and don’t set aside time to reflect on God’s blessings, life’s problems become magnified. We can lose our peace and become anxious when we don’t set time aside for the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
“I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” (Psalms 116:17) How many minutes of our day are we willing to give God with the sacrifice of thanksgiving? How much time do we want to spend magnifying Him?
How To Practice Gratitude
Fortunately, scientists have found a way that people can easily practice gratitude – write down five things you are thankful for each day. Scientific studies have proven that people who keep a gratitude journal have more positive emotions, such as joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness, and optimism. They experience protection from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness. They cope more effectively with stress, recover more quickly from illness, enjoy more health, improve their blood pressure and heart health, improve relationships, feel more loving, more forgiving, and closer to God, are more successful, bolster their self-worth and self-confidence, are more generous and helpful, and have a greater sense of purpose and resilience. (from Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons, Ph.D.)
Scientists have discovered what the Lord knew all along – practicing gratitude is good for us. Keeping a gratitude journal will help us to magnify God – to see Him bigger in our lives.
Judy’s book, The Secret to Health and Happiness: Gratitude Journal and Devotions, is available on Amazon or by contacting her at judyransom.com.
 Most word-for-word translations use the word “magnify” in Ps. 69:30, such as the KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, RSV, NRSV, AMP, and ASV. In this verse, the Hebrew word, gadal, means “to cause to grow; to make great, powerful; to magnify.”