Thanks Part 2
© 11.23.2014 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the November 26 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
What if we do not feel like giving thanks? Are we supposed to fake it? Or does the Bible give us a more �spiritual� approach to giving thanks when our heart is not really in it?
The first thing we need to realize is that it is wrong for us to be unthankful. Indeed, an attitude of thanksgiving should be a primary characteristic of God�s people. We are always, for everything, and in all circumstances, told to give thanks (Ephesians 5:19-20; Philippians 4:6; 1Thessolinians 5:18). We must give thanks for blessings, spiritual and physical, in our own lives and in the lives of others (Colossians 1:12; 1Timothy 4:3-4, Acts 28:15; 2Thessolonians 1:3; 2:13). Thanksgiving should be a regular part of our praise, prayer and worship (Psalms 95:1-7; 116:17; Colossians 4:2; Revelation 7:12; 11:17). Believers should constantly thank God for all the blessings he bestows, making sure that thanksgiving accompanies our requests of him (Psalms 30:12; 92:1-4; 103:1-5; Philippians 4:6; Colosians 4:2; 1Timothy 2:1). The bottom line is, we sin if we are not thankful. But, again, what if we don't feel thankful?
Even the least thankful of us should be able to find a place to start. In other words, even if we have allowed the sin of ungratefulness to take root in our lives we should be able to find something we are thankful for. Now, our first step should be to ask for forgiveness. We must repent of unthankfulness. Once we have done that, we need to consider what we are thankful for right now. For instance, most people are thankful they are alive. Give thanks to Almighty God for the life he has given you. Are you thankful for your job, a roof over your head, and clothes on your back? Then give thanks for these things. �That's all well and good� you might say. �But I have a hard time with thankfulness simply because I feel I've been shortchanged somewhere along the line.� Ah, this brings us back to the issue of thinking too highly of yourself. In fact, this point of view reveals an attitude suggesting you are entitled to these �basic� things in life and that thankfulness should be reserved for the �special blessings.� Let me tell you, if you are thinking this way, you have bought into a lie of Satan concerning the way things work in the world. This attitude reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of God and your relationship to him. Be very clear about this; God owes you absolutely nothing. Every breath you take is a gift from God. Everything in this life is given you as a matter of grace. God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust because he is a loving God not because he is obligated to do so.
So, repent of an ungrateful heart and began to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. As with any other Christlike characteristic we hope to cultivate, we must rely upon the word of God and the Holy Spirit in order to see real, lasting change. The world, the natural man, by nature refuses to give thanks to God. The Bible tells us that we should not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Yes, all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As we immerse ourselves in the Word, rest in the Holy Spirit and imitate Jesus, his godly character becomes ever more evident in our lives. It might seem as if we are �faking it� in the beginning but our job is to obey and leave the results (change) up to the Lord.
We have so much to be thankful for. In truth it is inconceivable that anyone could be lacking in thankfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you and yours will spend this day of national Thanksgiving giving praise and glory and thanks to our God and Savior.