Are You Thankful?
Would you describe yourself as a thankful person? Is thankfulness a trait you think others would see in you? If you were to do a study to see what the bible says about giving thanks or the attitude of thankfulness, you would be blown away! Giving thanks is a constant theme in the bible. In fact, I think we could say that the truest and most honorable worship we can give to God is worship overflowing with thanksgiving.
The worship scene in heaven described in Revelation 7:11-12 is one full with thanksgiving, while sinful human beings who refuse to worship God are those who do “not honor him, or give thanks to him" (Romans 1:21).
Well, Thanksgiving Day is this week and I want to issue a challenge. Be intentional about making Thanksgiving Day truly a day of giving thanks. And then don't stop with just a day of thanksgiving, but go for a lifestyle of giving thanks "always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20).
In fact, outdo one another in giving thanks to God! So, to help get you started on this challenge, let’s look at the fundamental reason for giving thanks:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
A thankful person is someone who recognizes the goodness of God. In fact, the spring of thanksgiving is a deep confidence that God is good. If we do not believe that God is good, then this spring has run dry. What the writer of this ancient Psalm does next is so helpful. He doesn’t look to his circumstances as the reason for believing in the goodness of God. That’s what we often do. We say, “Things are going great for me. God is good!” The Psalmist says God is good because his steadfast love endures forever. There is a world of glory in these words!
Consider three thanksgiving-producing realities:
1. God’s love is loyal. We don’t use the word steadfast very often today. What does it mean that God’s love is steadfast? It means that his love is faithful, not finicky; his love is loyal, not unreliable. God’s love is not dependent upon our circumstances which are finicky and unreliable. In fact, the loyal love of God is meant to fill us with hope and joy in the midst of our circumstances. This is what the writer of Lamentations does in the middle of devastation. He casts himself on God, whose “steadfast love never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Are you able to confidently cast yourself on the Lord's loyal love like this? God is fully committed to love his children and nothing will get in his way. The Lord is so good; give him thanks!
2. God’s Loyal Love Never Ends. The Lord’s love endures forever. It goes on and on and on. We cannot get away from it. And why would we want to? In Psalm 23:6, David says the Lord’s goodness and steadfast love will pursue him all the days of his life. David was convinced that the Lord’s faithful love was going to hunt him down relentlessly as long as he lived. And then what? David continues, “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” After the Lord’s love pursues us for the rest of our lives, we will be ushered into God’s presence where his love will be more fully known and experienced without end. The Lord is so good; give him thanks!
3. God’s loyal love which never ends was demonstrated, purchased, and eternally guaranteed through Jesus. Where does this confidence come from? How can you be so sure God is for you like this? Jesus. If you are connected to Jesus Christ by faith, trusting in his finished work on your behalf, God is 100% for you now and forever. This is why Paul connects the unstoppable love God has for his children, the love that nothing can separate them from, to Christ:
Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)
The words “in Christ Jesus our Lord” are not throw away words. Jesus’ death on the cross supremely demonstrates, purchases, and eternally guarantees God’s loyal, never ending love for us. Look to Jesus Christ on the cross with believing, adoring wonder that he hung there for you, and you will be filled with a sense of the goodness of the Lord in loving you like that! And you will give thanks.
This Thanksgiving Day and every day, give thanks loudly and incessantly for the myriad of blessings God has given you. But underneath and in and through it all, give thanks to the Lord for his goodness which he has shown you in his never ending, loyal love toward you through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
For your joy and faith,