Saturday, November 24, 2018

Giving Thanks In The Christian Walk

        One major theme of Scripture is thankfulness. There are literally dozens of exhortations in the Bible, from the Psalms to the Pauline epistles, for the saints to be showing appreciation for and rejoicing in the things of God. It is from Him that all blessings, temporal and eternal, flow (James 1:17). God is the ultimate source of our provisions in life.

        The fundamental reasons for giving thanks to Him should be evident to any sincere, faithful Christian. We have been redeemed and forgiven of our sins (Colossians 1:14). We have been rescued from the kingdom of Satan (Colossians 1:13). We can also show thankfulness to God for the natural world and its beauty. 

        God is gracious and merciful. A person cannot praise God without also giving thanks to Him. A person cannot worship God to the fullest extent without also giving thanks to Him. The aforementioned point accounts for Scripture associating ingratitude with sin (Romans 1:21-32; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). If we are unthankful, then how can we really trust in God? If we are not trusting in God while professing to follow Him, then we blaspheme Him.

        The Lord is the source of all wisdom. We are to be appreciative for whatever gifts that He has bestowed to us (Matthew 7:11). Every gift or blessing that we have originates from Him. This reality is called divine providence. We are not to approach life in a secular way that fails to take into account the workings of God.

        Thankfulness is good for our souls. It reinforces humility and selflessness. It counteracts our tendency to boast. It keeps anger and resentment at bay. Giving thanks serves as a constant reminder of the blessings we do have. Giving thanks takes our focus off potential things we may desire to have, thus making us happier.

        Thankfulness changes our perspective of matters in this life. It is an inward state of heart which points to God and brings glory to Him. The test of whether we are truly thankful does not lie in good times but in our times of trouble and unease. We should be thankful, even in the midst of suffering and persecution (James 1:12; 1 Peter 4:12-19).

         We should thank God for holding us up spiritually during times of pain and suffering. He is working things out for the good of those who love Him. He is working things out according to His divine will. If we refuse to give thanks to God, then already existing bitterness will fester in our minds and so rob us of the supernatural peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:4-8). 

        A refusal to show heartfelt gratitude is one of the biggest mistakes that one can make in the Christian life. The preaching of the gospel is to be done in thanksgiving to God. The gospel itself is a call for all people to give thanks to God. We are to be grateful to God for even seemingly small things like the oxygen that we breath.

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