Thankfulness As A Living
What would it be like if you were able to live a life of thanks- giving every day? How can we take this annual holiday and turn it into a constant attitude? How can we live a life of grati- tude and praise?
We can start by honoring God in all we do, say and think. Gratitude starts with our thought life. It grows out of an attitude of appreciation, humil- ity, and proper perspective. One of the best biblical de- scriptions of how thankfulness needs to be infused into our character is in Colossians 3:12- 17: ďTherefore, as Godís chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with com- passion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. For- give as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and ad- monish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Ē
Gratefulness is emphasized here because it is the perfect antidote to pride and selfish- ness and a host of other sins. What is the opposite of thank- fulness? It is things like, com- plaining, arguing, selfishness, a sense of entitlement. Our sin nature wants to try and con- vince us that we deserve more, that we are in the right, that we have been taken advantage of, or that we really have it bad.
Thatís not what we are supposed to be like as believers.
To be thankful we must pray. Philippians 4:6: ďDo not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Ē
We can keep our anxiousness and worry down through prayer. Do you want your burdens to be lifted? We must be willing to present our requests to God, and give control over to Him. When we pray with thanksgiv- ing we are thanking God for the ability to pray, we are thanking him for answering our prayers, we are thanking Him for free- ing us from worry. When we pray with thankfulness to God it has a way of adjusting our thinking so that it falls in line with what God wants.
We have an avenue of thankfulness given by God, it is Worship. ďLet the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one an- other with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.Ē Itís hard to be grumpy, and bitter, and self- ish when we are singing joyfully to the Lord. Singing lifts our spirits, focuses our attention on God, and puts us in an attitude of praise.
We can be thankful daily if we would just dwell on the good.
Too often we let our minds go to the negative, those nagging money problem, or to the liquor store, or to past failures, or other unproductive things. We have to purposefully dwell
on the good to find thankfulness. Philip- pians 4:8: ďFinally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever noble, whatever right, whatever pure, whatever lovely, whatever admirable-- if any- thing is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.Ē
Ask yourself; are my thoughts true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable? If not, it might be time to make an adjust- ment.
It is important to express our gratitude from time to time. Talking thankfully involves praising others, praising God, and sharing our gratitude. When was the last time you told your spouse, ďIím really thank- ful that Iím married to you.Ē? Do you tell your kids that you appreciate them? Do you let God know how thankful you are for what He has done in your life? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, saved by grace, you have a lot to be thankful for. No matter how bad life gets, you still canít complain. It is also important that we verbally tell others what we are grateful for.
We must also act thankful. We need to demonstrate a life of thankfulness in everything we do. That begins with a heart of service. Serving is a demonstra- tion of appreciation, respect, and love. It can be done in a selfish, ungrateful way, but when it is done right, it is a blessing both to the server and the service. 1 Timothy 1:12: ďI thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.Ē Are you thankful for the area of service that God has called you to? We can act thankfully by sharing what we have. This might take the form of sharing some of our abundance with those who donít have as much. It might be sharing with the homeless or needy.
People who really understand thankfulness and appreciation usually are very good at sharing with others. They know how great it feels to give. This does- nít just apply to sharing our stuff, but, more importantly, sharing our faith. If you have a real understanding of who Jesus Christ is, what He has done for all mankind, and what He has done in your life, you are going to be looking for every opportunity to share that with others. We can best show our appreciation for our salvation by praising God and telling others. If our faith is truly transforming, and valuable, and important, we will share it with those who donít have it.
The best thing about living a thankful life is that it helps us put things into perspective. When we focus on the great things that God has done for us, the annoying junk in life has a way of losing its importance.
During this thanksgiving seasons letís begin to train our minds to think thankfully. Letís take the opportunity to talk thankfully, and letís demon- strate our appreciation by acting thankfully.