All of us need to develop more of this godly trait.
"Thank you!" "Nice job!" "Great work!" "Good try!" Those words sound wonderful, don't they? Sure, they make you feel good. And it makes others feel good when you express warm, sincere appreciation! Why is it so difficult for people today to express true appreciation? Why are so many "without natural affection" (II Timothy 3:3, Authorized Version)? Expressing sincere appreciation can encourage and motivate others. It can even inspire greater spiritual growth. That is real power! The dictionary defines appreciation as "sensitive awareness." Are you as sensitively aware as you should be?
The place to begin learning to show real appreciation is in your relationship with God. How sensitively aware are you of God's loving concern for you? God is the most positive being in the universe, cheering us on to qualify for His soon-coming Kingdom. Does God receive the praise from you He deserves? If not, then you especially need to continue reading. God, after all, is the greatest giver. James 1:17 tells us that "every good gift and every perfect gift" is from Him. He even gave us His Son's life for the forgiveness of our sins, and He did so before we even knew what was going on (Romans 5:8)! Without that awareness — without that deep appreciation of God and what He is doing – we cannot express proper appreciation to others.
Living the way of giving
Satan the devil is determined to destroy all potential for oneness between you and your Father in heaven. That fiendish goal has driven him to broadcast his message of deception to humanity for almost 6,000 years. Part of that deception is the idea that we are self-sufficient, complete, in need of nothing. That was the basis of his attack on Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5). Of course, the exact opposite is true. We need God and we need other humans. That's right – we need each other! Read I John 4:12: "If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us." A proof that God's character is being perfected in us is our love for one another. Are you proving your love for God by the way you live your life? Does God see you building strong, caring relationships with others? Does God see you nourishing those around you with sincere admiration and praise? If He does, that proves you are responding to God's message, not Satan's. All of this is part of the way of giving, the basis of God's message to humanity. Simply stated, God wants us to believe and practice Acts 20:35: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Of course, it is crucial that you have something to give. With the help of God, you do. When you express your appreciation to another person, you are giving something very important. Make sure you are not carelessly withholding it (Proverbs 12:25, 16:24). Notice Hebrews 10:24-25: "Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you •see the Day approaching. " The admonition of I Thessalonians 5:11 offers the same message: "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." God is clearly telling us it is important to be aware of the effort and success of those around us. "There is power in that sort of recognition. It can inspire a person to even try harder. In order for you to be sensitive to others, you must have a spiritual awareness. It has much to do with what you think about. Do you think only about yourself and your interests? Study Philippians 4:8, where Paul actually lists for us what we should have on our minds: "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things." Pay special attention to the phrase "if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things." Doing this would surely help us be more aware of others, wouldn't it? In verse 9 Paul instructs us to follow his example. We can see his fine example by reading II Thessalonians 1:4, where he gives generous praise to the Christians of Thessalonica. Paul not only complimented their past behavior but expressed confidence in their future yieldedness to God. He knew this honest praise would greatly encourage them to work and yield even more. You have that same ability to inspire other people.
Praising good in others
Developing the habit of appreciation is not impossible, with God's help. Begin by praying for God's inspiration — ask Him to convict you that showing appreciation is needed. Ask for God's help in learning to show your feelings of appreciation. Don't forget: Unexpressed appreciation is powerless! You won't become aware of others unless you change your way of thinking to the way of give. As Philippians 2:4 says, "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." It will take God's help for you to do this — the carnal mind is not naturally concerned with the good of others. It will also take one more thing — work. New habits are not established easily. You must work to become aware of situations where showing appreciation is possible and desirable, and exercise God's giving attitude by doing so. For instance, how consistently do you say "thank you"? Do you freely praise those in your family when they do well — your wife, husband, children, parents? What about fellow employees on the job, your children's teachers, people in the community who provide services for you? Ask your friends or family how you do in this area. You might be surprised or even shocked! You may need more of God's help than you thought. What kind of examples do you set for your children? Nowhere is your appreciation more powerful than with your young ones. They need to know you notice and appreciate their efforts to do what is right. It is like food to their growth and development. If you are not providing a positive, supportive, enthusiastic environment where generous appreciation is freely shown, you need to pray, think about it and work to change. When the Kingdom of God is established on this earth, the saints (spirit-born Christians) will take office with the newly coronated, glorified Jesus Christ (Zechariah 14:4-5). The King of kings will institute His way of life — the way of peace — the way of give — all around the world. We as God's children are to have a part in administering that government (Revelation 3:11-12). Are you ready to do that? Are you developing God's character and mind now? Are you learning to inspire and encourage people? In the Kingdom of God, appreciation will be an important means of promoting spiritual growth in the lives of humans. Are you learning how important it is to express appreciation? If you are, you will one day be privileged to hear the most beautiful words of appreciation from our very positive, encouraging God: "Well done, good servant" (Luke 19:17).