Colossians 1:12, “And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light.”
Each year we come to November with Thanksgiving in mind. The month is spent preparing for the day, getting ready for the holiday to come after and talking about being thankful. Most people think of ways they can thank God for all they have been blessed with over the year. It feels a lot of times thankfulness has an “I” problem. What the Lord has done for me. What I have gained. Have we ever stopped to thank the Lord for being who He is? Maybe thanked Him for other people’s blessings. As we go through this month, we're going to hopefully begin to look at Thanksgiving and the month of thankfulness through some new perspectives. Today let's look at reasons for Thanksgiving and what the Bible teaches.
Thankfulness is an important subject throughout scripture. Over 100 plus times it is used in some form or another in verses and Paul uses it over 40 times himself, seven times alone in Colossians. Thankfulness is a way to express acknowledgement and appreciation to God, His grace, blessings, and sovereign work in our lives. So, why should we be thankful?
1. We are thankful because it honors God: 2 Corinthians 4:15- When we thank God we are acknowledging that He not only exists in our lives, but He is working in our lives. He is the very source and means of what we have and who we are. True thankfulness recognizes our total dependence on God and recognizing all we have is because of God's wisdom, purposes, grace, and love. Are your thankful words just platitude or do you truly believe God is active in your life?
2. We are thankful because it is commanded in scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18- Many Psalms call us to give thanks. Psalm 100:4 tells us very specifically to give thanks before God, “Come into his city with songs of thanksgiving and into his courtyards with songs of praise. Thank him and praise his name.” No matter our season in life, happiness and joy or heartache and sorrow, there can always be a reason to enter God's gates and give thanks. Enter means to come, bring in, gather and Psalms tells us they are Gods gates He has invited us into, and they are open to all who come no matter what season we’re in. The only catch, enter with praise and thanksgiving. Why, because when we thank God, our hearts are lifted with joy and as we praise God our troubles begin to slide away, and our hearts become knitted closer to Gods.
3. We are thankful because the consequence of thanklessness is too dangerous: Romans 1:21, “They knew God, but they did not give glory to God or thank him. Their thinking became useless. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness.” When we aren't thankful, we tend to become proud of what “we” have done in life and what “we” accomplished (there's that “I” problem again). Without a thankful heart of God in our lives we can begin to depend on man rather than God. Hebrews 12:15 adds that an unthankful heart can lead to bitterness, complaining, and a joyless life. Thankfulness is a response to God's grace, thanklessness is bitterness, grumbling and complaining. It promotes pettiness, being self-absorbed, and problems which can lead to depression and hopelessness because we are too focused on our problems rather than God.
2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s victory parade. God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume.” God promises that a thankful, God focused person, will be filled with Jesus and His love will show through us rather than bitterness and complaining. How we praise God and share gratitude shows where our spiritual walk with God really is.
Thankfulness is about thanking God for what He does for us, but it also means thanking God for who He is for us. We have God’s salvation; He listens to our prayers and provides for our needs. As you reflect back on this year thank God for who He is not just for what He's done.
Let's continue studying our verses of thankfulness and dig deeper in the Bible as we continue through this month.
1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Always be joyful.”
Daniel 6:10, “Even though Daniel knew that the new law had been written, he went to pray in an upstairs room in his house, which had windows that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times each day Daniel would kneel down to pray and thank God, just as he always had done.”
Psalm 7:17, “I praise the Lord because he does what is right. I sing praises to the Lord Most High.”
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