Thanksgiving – A Way of Living
Slide Guide, November 28, 2021
‘What is God’s will for my life?” Answer: 1 Thess 5:18- “…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” NASU
Having a mindset with our default attitude set on ‘thankfulness’ is part of God’s will for our lives!
Ps 100:4- “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” Whenever we pray we are essentially entering the gates of the throne room of God and coming right into the courts of God’s presence. So, try to picture that reality and then remember to start your prayers with thanksgiving and praise.
With this being our default starting point in our interactions and conversations with God, later the Apostle Paul tells us our ending point. Col 2:6-7- “You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God.” ERV
Col 3:15-17- “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.” NLT
The Apostle was saying these kinds of things about thankfulness to people of whom many were Roman slaves!
Our personal rights need to be constantly guided by our greater rights in order to fulfill the greater good for the sake of our God.
One of the reasons the Apostle told these Colossian believers to practice giving thanks for their blessings is because it was also a wonderful way for them to rise above their conditions. It was a way to get those who had been wronged in that forced slavery condition to now do be inspired to do right by giving themselves to voluntary service to each other.
The secret to being able to give yourself away in service is by building a habit of first giving yourself away in gratitude.
Both the Psalmist’s and the Apostle’s focus on the discipline of ‘giving thanks’ was that their focus was on the ‘constants’ about God rather than on the ‘changing things’ of this world.
Our human nature is to be constantly looking for reasons to practice thanksgiving over those things which are not constant, like our health and finances, and such.
2 Cor 4:16-18- “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” NASU
The Apostle is mentoring us in the ‘art of thanksgiving’ by calling us to zero in
on the constants…on ‘the eternals’, as providing the basis of our giving of thanks. He’s call us to the ‘constants’; like, Our Savior, our salvation, our sanctification, God’s Kingdom that is coming, God’s plan for our lives, God’s forever family, God’s constant work on our behalf, God’s grace and mercy in our lives, and God’s promises, which again, includes God’s compensation for all of the hard things we have ever had to endure.
Notice what poured out of Paul’s habit of thanks toward God. Eph 1:15-16 – “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.”
Gratefulness towards God develops our sensitivity towards others.
Gratefulness towards God also develops our communication with others. As believers develop their habit of communicating their thanks to God, they then become more adept at communicating their appreciation of others.
As we become more sensitive to the things of God and become more expressive of our praise and thanks to God, God then causes us to become more insightful towards those around us and more expressive in our communication to those around us.
The secret of the Christian life is that it’s not about living the Christian life; it’s about experiencing more of the life of Christ in us. It’s not you taking charge of living out the Christian life. It’s surrendering more of your life to Christ to be in charge of you.
As we develop this habit, God changes our thought patterns, He directs our emotions, He guides our will, and He uses our bodies, as we live out our lives in a more Christ-like way.
Not only does the habit of giving thanks develop our relationship with God and others, but it also protects us more from the dangers of our enemy.
We can fight off some of those fiery darts of Satan by offering up our thanks and praise to God.
Paul’s own habit of giving thanks: Col 1:3-8- “We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard that you trust in Christ Jesus and that you love all of God’s people. You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven — as you have been ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners. Epaphras, our much loved co-worker, was the one who brought you the Good News. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us in your place. He is the one who told us about the great love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.” NLT
Give thanks also over the salvation of those you know; Give thanks over the love and service of others; Give thanks over the way other believers are looking forward to Kingdom living when Christ returns; Give thanks over those whose lives are being changed by the gospel worldwide; and Give thanks over the way that God the Holy Spirit is providing you and other’s what we all need in order to carry out His will.