Have you ever spent time with an ungrateful person? Their thankless, complaining attitude almost repels you, doesn’t it? It’s no fun to spend time with them; in fact, it can drain you!
Having a thankful attitude is not only attractive but powerful. Additionally, thankfulness welcomes the presence of God into your situation and produces inner peace and hope.
Being Thankful is God’s Will
Paul instructed the Thessalonian believers to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This Bible verse is clear: It’s God’s will that we be continually thankful.
However, Paul is not telling believers to be thankful for everything (like bad things that happen to us), but to be thankful in everything. Paul knew this firsthand; he wrote much of the New Testament from a prison cell. He meant that no matter the circumstances, we can always find something to be thankful for. Even in the toughest times, if we will choose gratitude, we will come out on top.
Paul also taught that fornication, all uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and coarse jesting are not what Christians should be doing, “but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:3-4). When we are tempted to do or say something we shouldn’t, we need to speak words of gratitude instead.
Paul’s command in Colossians is clear: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Even when we are doing the dishes, working at our job, or changing diapers, we can do it for God’s glory while giving thanks.
Thankfulness Promotes Hope, Faith and Peace
When we choose to be thankful instead of worrisome, God’s peace surrounds us. Ephesians teaches: “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.”
God knows that we have needs; when we tell Him our requests with thankfulness, He promises His peace. If you are a parent, you know the truth behind this. If your children need something and come to you with a grateful attitude, you are much more likely to grant their request than if they are ungrateful. It’s the same with God; He likes thankful attitudes.
When we are thankful for what we have and remember how God has helped and blessed us before, our hope grows and our faith increases. We trust that God’s plans are good for us, and we know that, “He always leads us in triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Being Thankful is Connected with Praise
A very well known scripture about thankfulness is found in Psalm 100:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”
If we want to enter the presence of God, we must start with being thankful. Thankfulness and praise unlock the presence of God in our lives.
Hebrews makes it clear that a thankful heart must be expressed with grateful words: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” When we verbally praise and thank God, we can torment the devil, our enemy; if we are thankful silently, Satan isn’t bothered at all!
When we “proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all [God’s] wondrous works,” Satan cannot discourage us or deceive us with his lies (Psalm 26:7). Thanksgiving is a powerful weapon to fight our enemy; we are strengthened when we sing a song of praise and thankfully magnify the Lord (Psalm 69:30). We keep our eyes on God and His goodness, not our circumstances.
Being Thankful Prevents Selfishness and Self-Pity
When we have a grateful attitude, we are less likely to feel sorry for ourselves and turn inward. In Ephesians, Paul said, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”
Thanksgiving is connected to prayer. Because of the good report Paul received about believers in Ephesus, he prayed and thanked God for them. When Paul wrote these letters to the churches, he was often sitting in prison. However, instead of Paul feeling sorry for himself and getting depressed, he chose gratitude. Repeatedly throughout the New Testament, Paul thanked God for the special community of believers that He put in his life.
When we lose perspective and start feeling like a victim, we need to choose thankfulness instead. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 says, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.” Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, we should thank God for the people in our lives, mentioning them to the Lord and praying for them regularly.
There’s Thanksgiving in Heaven
Heaven is filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. The book of Revelation gives many examples of how God receives worship and praise. The “living creatures [gave] glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever.”
Even the angels gave thanks to God declaring, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:12).
Gratitude is proclaimed by all of heaven:
“And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come’” (Revelation 11:17).
All of heaven, including the living creatures, the angels and the elders continually thank and praise God. Since heaven is flowing with praise and thanksgiving to God, how much more should we do the same?
There’s a Lot to be Grateful For
We don’t have to look far to find countless things to be grateful for. Perhaps we take many things for granted, like the air we breathe or even life itself. Being thankful for our family and friends is natural, but is our gratitude visible?
In Colossians, Paul urges Christians to be, “earnest in prayer [and] vigilant in thanksgiving.” He reminds us to give “thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” That is truly something to be grateful for!
Gratitude is powerful. Be thankful that God’s goodness, faithfulness and mercy never end!
“Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1)
~ by Jennell Houts
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