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Hacking Thankfulness

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“Discovering” ancient godly wisdom.

Over the millennia, human beings have tried many different paths in their pursuit of true happiness and “enlightenment.” As we draw near to the end of this age, with the explosion of technological advancement over the last hundred years, mankind is now harnessing new tools and vast amounts of research in its never-ending search for happiness.

One recent trend in this search is called biohacking, a movement encompassing a wide variety of attempts to maximize human biological potential and to “transcend” the limits of health, happiness, and performance. While some biohackers go to dangerous extremes—including altering their bodies with technology or experimenting with dangerous drugs—others more safely explore what can be achieved through diet, exercise, and mental conditioning. Their goal is to discover what can be done, from a purely biological and scientific perspective, to make themselves happier and more efficient.

An Ancient Truth Revealed by a Modern Trend

One area in which some modern biohackers have found common ground with the Bible is the importance of behavior. They see that how you treat other people—and how you look at your place in the world—matters. They understand that to have a healthy body, you need to have a healthy disposition toward yourself and others.

Many on this quest have rightfully noted the need for gratitude. They have seen that taking the time to quantify what they have to be thankful for is not only beneficial but essential—so much so that Tim Ferriss, a leading proponent of various biohacks, feels that people should schedule “gratitude training” and take inventory of the positive achievements in their lives, as well as the positive people who surround them. As Ferriss has noted on his blog, “It’s frighteningly easy to develop pessimistic blinders and lose sight of the incredible blessings and achievements in our lives.”

Ferriss has stumbled upon a truth that the Bible has advocated for thousands of years. The Apostle Paul, discussing an increasingly corrupt society, noted that although people “knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). In other words, an unthankful attitude leads to a foolish and unsound mind.

It’s interesting that the word “darkened” at the end of this scripture describes an intellectual darkness or blindness. Paul is showing a clear connection between a lack of thankfulness—specifically towards the Creator and Sustainer of the universe—and a diminished understanding of spiritual matters. Such a lack of spiritual perspective leads, in time, to a mind that becomes increasingly corrupt and slides into moral decay. As the New Living Translation reads, “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks…. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.”

Appreciating God: The Ultimate “Biohack”

The solution, of course, is practicing thankfulness, and true thankfulness starts with acknowledging God as the Creator and Provider of all good things. Paul states, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). The entire context of this section in Colossians concerns what we as humans should focus our minds on and how we should treat other human beings. Avoiding negative attitudes and cultivating a positive and thankful outlook leads to a peaceful state of mind. That’s a “biohack” endorsed by God Himself.

Practicing thankfulness not only helps us appreciate the blessings we have been given but also keeps us humble as we recognize our place in the big picture. Thankfulness gives us mental clarity so we can recognize our complete dependence on God, helping us avoid spiritual blindness. As the end of the age draws near, humanity is going to slide into complete rebellion against its Creator, and that slide starts with an attitude of ingratitude. Let’s avoid this common pitfall and be thankful for the numerous blessings we have in our lives. Above all, let’s be thankful for our Creator.

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