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Book Review

Choosing Gratitude--Your Journey to Joy - by DeMoss, Nancy Leigh

Chicago, Moody Publishers, 2009. 234pp.
Barbara Barrick, wife of TMS professor Dr. Bill Barrick

“Thank you” is one of the first responses that parents teach their children when training them to be polite and exhibit thankfulness. So, too, our heavenly Father wants His children to be thankful. The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:7, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Although gratitude is not a natural virtue, it is something that we can learn with God’s help through the pages of Scripture. In her book, Choosing Gratitude, Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains various aspects of gratitude and its importance on our “journey to joy.”

How important is gratitude? The author maintains that “To a significant degree, your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, as well as the health and stability of your relationships with others, will be determined by your gratitude quotient” (17). She reminds us that with every circumstance that comes our way we have the choice “to whine or to worship” (23). Choosing Gratitude helps us respond with worship. A biblical definition of gratitude is more than just the ability to say thank you.” It involves cultivating a truly thankful heart as we consider that even hard or unpleasant things can be used by God for good.

Miss DeMoss shares several reasons for choosing and increasing gratitude in our lives. Jesus is our example in this as He demonstrated “a spirit of gratitude” on many occasions in His life (Luke 10:21; John 11:41) including when sharing food with the multitudes (Mark 8) and at the last supper (Luke 22:17, 19; Matthew 26:27). In contrast, Miss DeMoss also shows problems that result from ingratitude. Among those, consider Romans 1:21, “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened” (DeMossʼ italics, 52).

The basic study of gratitude is only 158 of the total pages; however, Choosing Gratitude contains other resources for growth in gratitude. There is a stand alone “Growing in Gratitude 30 Day Devotional Guide”* in newer editions of the book. A list of nearly fifty hymn titles is also included to help the readers show thankfulness through music in her devotional time.

Every believer would benefit from this easy to read but insightful book on the important “grace gift” virtue of gratitude that should become a lifestyle for us. Be thankful. God has commanded it—for our good and for His glory” (63). May we be like the psalmist in Psalm 30:12, “I will give thanks to you forever.”

*Note: the guide is also available free online at You can get started growing your gratitude today and be that much ahead by the time you read the book.

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