Today is Thanksgiving. I trust that you will be enjoying the day with friends and family. Remember to take time to be thankful. As you travel through your day remember the words that Paul wrote to the Ephesian church:
“Giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father.” (Eph. 5:20)
Let me share Three Thoughts on Thanksgiving with you that come from this verse.
1. We are to be Thankful Always
To be thankful always is to recognize God’s control of our lives in every detail as He seeks to conform us to the image of His son Jesus. To be thankless even for the hard things that come into our lives is to disregard God’s control, Jesus being the Lord of our lives, and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Nothing grieves the Holy Spirit as much as a true believer who does not offer genuine thanks to God. When God allows trials and difficulties to come into our lives we often grumble and complain. When we do this, we are ultimately questioning God wisdom, His love, and His sovereignty.
There are three specific levels in which we are to be thankful.
- We are to be thankful when God blesses us. When things are going well, when we are experiencing peace, when we receive an unexpected blessing – thankfulness drips easily from our tongue. There is nothing wrong with this type of thankfulness. The Bible instructs us to be thankful for these blessings. However, this kind of thankfulness requires very little maturity.
- We are to be thankful in anticipation of some kind of blessing yet to happen. Thanking God for a blessing yet to come is much harder than thanking Him for something that has already happened. It requires much more faith and spiritual maturity. It requires hope because it involves the unseen. In this level, we are to be thankful for victory before it is even achieved.
- We are to be thankful in the middle of a trial. This is the most difficult level and requires the most spiritual maturity. Here, we are to be thankful even when we feel like we are losing the battle. To thank God while we are in the middle of pain or trials shows a level of maturity that few Christians seem to know. But, our heavenly Father wants all Christians to have this kind of thankfulness.
2. We are to Give Thanks for All Things
Only a humble person can genuinely give thanks for all things. An authentically humble person is one who knows he deserves nothing. A lack of thankfulness comes from the sin of pride. It comes from the thought that we deserve something better than what we have. Pride tries to convince us that our job, our health, our spouse, and most of what we possess is not as good as we deserve. Pride was at the root of the first sin and remains the root of all sin. Humility is the only cure for pride. Humility comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Humility dethrones self and enthrones Christ. Truly, “He (Christ) must increase and I must decrease.”
3. We are to be Thankful ‘in the name of Christ’
The mature believer gives thanks to the Father just as Christ continually gave thanks. Notice this:
- Jesus deserved glory but received humiliation
- Jesus deserved love but received hate
- Jesus deserved honor but received dishonor
- Jesus deserved praise but received scorn
- Jesus deserved riches but received poverty
- Jesus deserved holiness but was made sin on our behalf
In spite of all that and more, Jesus never lost his thankfulness. Because Jesus emptied Himself to the point of giving His own life, He is able to fill us with everything we need for salvation.
- We deserve humiliation but in Christ we receive glory
- We deserve to be hated but in Christ we are loved
- We deserve dishonor but in Christ we receive honor
- We deserve scorn but in Christ we receive good
- We deserve poverty but in Christ we receive riches
- We deserve death but in Christ we receive eternal life
One mark of the true Spirit-filled believer is that they always give thanks, for all things, in the name of Christ. As Spirit-filled believers we are to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. On this Thanksgiving Day, Always be Thankful. Be Thankful for all things. Be Thankful in the Name of Christ.
What About You?
What are you thankful for today ? Leave a comment below and let us know what you are thankful for.