Thankfulness. It’s a hard topic to write about because I sometimes struggle with being thankful.
Acknowledging the Truth
It’s fairly simple to acknowledge that we should be thankful. God has done so much for us. He has given us life through His only Son, Jesus Christ. He has delivered us from sin. He loves us beyond what we can imagine.
Thankfulness. It’s easy to acknowledge that thanksgiving is due toward such an awesome God.
The Art of Being Thankful
Being thankful is a deeper extension of the acknowledgment in our minds that we should be thankful.
Being thankful stems from the heart.
What is it? What does it look like?
It is someone who, when faced with a difficult situation, reacts first and foremost by coming to God in prayer, seeking His face for direction, trusting His plan for their life, and praising Him for being an awesome and loving God. That is a person with a thankful heart.
And yet, more often than not, when faced with a difficult situation… our first reaction is to complain.
We forget God, we forget His hand in our lives, we forget that He is on the throne…. and we complain.
Sometimes it seems like people around us are constantly complaining. What’s the harm in joining them?
Romans 12:2 says
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
As children of God, we should not follow the pattern of the world in a stream of constant complaints, but we should be lights in this world.
By turning to God in our darkest moments, we show the world that there is hope in God, that God is our rock, and we can put our trust in Him.
The complaining heart reflects a heart that is empty of thankfulness. A heart that says to God, ‘You do not love me, You can’t help me, and You have done a terrible thing to me.’
Coming to God
An example of coming to God during difficult situations can be seen in Psalm 64 written by David.
We see David bringing his complaints before the Lord. He not only brings his struggles and troubles to God, but He trusts God to handle the situation and finds comfort in God as his refuge. Finally, he rejoices in God.
This is in contrast to Numbers 11 where we see the Israelites in the desert complaining in the hearing of the Lord. They murmured, muttered, and grumbled among themselves.
They forgot God’s blessings and God’s work in their lives. He brought them out of slavery from Egypt, He delivered them from Pharaoh, He even gave them bread from heaven to eat.
But they forgot what God had done, and they were not thankful for His gifts. They complained that they “only” had manna to eat. What God had provided for them was not enough. Their complaints reflected a heart that was not thankful, and this angered God.
Their relationship with God suffered because they were not truly thankful.
How Can We Be Thankful?
Being thankful is not easy. It doesn’t come naturally to our sinful human nature.
Being deeply thankful in our hearts is something that we can do only through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-26 tells us the fruits of the spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control…
If we are filled with these, then there is no more room for thanklessness.
Colossians 3:15-17 describes a pattern of thankfulness for the Christian life. To be thankful in all that we do is the Christian way.
Let us seek God faithfully in prayer and cultivate a heart of thankfulness.
Because thanksgiving is not just one day… it is a daily pattern of faithfully seeking and praising our awesome and wonderful God.