Living Out Thanksgiving

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We in America tend to focus heavily on being grateful during this season. While being gracious, thankful and grateful is a nice social virtue, as Christians we are called to live out our lives daily being thankful. In our relationships with other followers of Christ, we are to speak to one another “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with [our] heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19 NASB). The manner in which we are to carry this out is continually “giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:20 NASB).

Moreover, the apostle Paul instructs believers to be rejoicing always, pray without ceasing, and “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NASB). Note that Scripture requires us to give thanks “in everything,” but not necessarily “for everything.” In other words, when a horrible injustice occurs, we are to seek to make a wrong situation right. While we are to give the Lord thanks — keeping a gracious and grateful attitude toward Him in every situation — we do not look to Him as the cause of injustice. Therefore, we do not thank the Lord for all things but in all things.

Christians are instructed to be a praying people. We are to pray on behalf of all people, including all who are in authority, both in State and in the Church. Note also, however, that “thanksgivings” are to be made on behalf of our good leaders as well (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1). While we, in our human state, find criticizing our leaders all too easy (even when many are deserving), we would be more benefited by the Lord if we prayed and gave thanks for them.

But our thanksgiving to God through Christ needs to be public as well as private. The Psalmist writes, “Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD, and I will sing praises to Your name” (Ps. 18:49 NASB). By thanking and boasting in our God, the world can see His goodness rather than our sinfulness — His perfection rather than our imperfection.

Every breath I breathe is a gift of God’s grace, since Christ Jesus sustains the entire universe, including my very being (cf. Heb. 1:1-3). I only wish I could think on that truth more and more during the day every day. Perhaps I would be more conformed unto His image, more sanctified, or maintain a deeper sense of His presence than what I am currently experiencing.

I am grateful for who God is, and for all He has done for me, and for all that He will do in me. I am grateful for His redeeming me, and I look forward to the Day when my faith will be made sight. I am thankful for my family, including my Church family in my hometown. I have some wonderful friends, including friends and brothers and sisters in Christ on the Internet whom I have never personally met. If anyone can admit that he is blessed, that person is me.

God bless you all. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Have an even more blessed Life of Thanksgiving.