Another Thanksgiving Blog on Thankfulness
There will likely be thousands and thousands of entries posted about thankfulness in the blogosphere during the Thanksgiving holiday season. So why add one more? Honestly, because I believe it is one of the most underappreciated aspects of a Christian’s faith.
Of course, selfishness is probably the number one problem we all face. The Bibles teaches us that we have to die to ourselves and be born again with a God first, others second and me last mentality. Because of our flesh, we will all fight some form of selfishness over time, no doubt losing some battles to it along the way. But the second biggest issue we face may well be a lack of thankfulness. Of course, the two are definitely related. The more self-focused we are the less we are going to be thankful for what we have because we assume we are owed so much more.
A quick glance at what the Bible has to say on the matter should bring its importance into focus. Of course, the Old Testament Psalms are full of thanksgiving, reminding us in numerous places to gives thanks to God. For example, Psalm 100: 4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! [ESV]
And in the New Testament, Paul notes that thankfulness is a mark of our spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. The third chapter of Colossians begins by teaching us to keep our minds on Christ, then Paul moves on to teaching us the importance of controlling our passion and desires. As he continues describing the process of Christian growth in verses 8 and 9, he tells us it includes bringing under control any negative aspects of our relationships with other people (such as talking about them behind their back, lying to their face, etc.).
Paul continues on regarding our relationships with others to say that we must be loving and forgiving. And then Paul closes out that section of chapter 3 with two calls for thankfulness in the last verse and a half.
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3: 16b – 17 [ESV]
In another letter, Paul explicitly states that an attitude of thankfulness is God’s will for us, regardless of what circumstances we find ourselves in.
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5: 18 [ESV]
So it is clear Christians are called to be an intentionally thankful people. But why? The scriptures actually provide a few different reasons. One of them is that it helps us in addressing our anxieties. Anxiety and anxious disorders are a growing problem in our world today and Christians have the inside track on conquering them.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6 – 7 [ESV]
We are to address and overcome anxiety by praying to God WITH THANKSGIVING! Only doing this allows us the “peace of God”.
And there are other verses we can turn to which couple prayer and thanksgiving together for the Christian.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4: 2 [ESV]
I have had a number of Christians express a concern to me that they don’t feel they pray enough. But a better mode of self-reflection might be to question whether we are thankful enough when we do pray.
And finally, the Bible says that thanksgiving must be the mark of a Christian as it directly impacts their ability to be the lights of the world which we are called to be.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world Philippians 2: 14 – 15 [ESV]
As a believer, do you do ALL things without grumbling? Are you truly thankful in ALL circumstances? Are your prayers sent to God with true thankfulness? We should all make a daily effort to grow in this area, as this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
Andy’s book, Clear Vision: How The Bible Teaches Us To View The World, can be purchased here.