Living life with a thankful heart
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Thanksgiving will be here soon. It is a great day filled with food, family and football. Thanksgiving is a day where our country pauses to give thanks.
Obviously, I think it is great to focus on gratitude on Thanksgiving, but I think it is even better to be filled with gratitude throughout the year. The more I understand and deepen my faith, the more I realize how much I have to be thankful for. For me, it is the gospel that drives my gratitude. I really stole this idea from the apostle Paul, who, despite being heavily persecuted, started nearly every one of his letters with a word of thankfulness. His letters are full of gratitude for the people and thankfulness for the grace of God in his life.
For Paul, it was his faith and not his circumstances that were the driving force of his gratitude. His challenges, which were many, didn’t negate his thankfulness. I think this is critical and helps explain how a man could face countless trails and challenges and yet have such a thankful spirit.
For me, the more I understand the grace that God has given me, the more my heart is grateful. I try to ensure that my gratitude is primarily shaped by my faith and not the latest circumstances in my life. This gives me a deeper and fuller understanding of gratitude and one that is less subject to the unpredictable world around me.
Seemingly from one end of the Bible to the other, we are commanded to be thankful. The Psalms are rich with words of thankfulness “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 147:7) that the heart of a follower of Jesus should be one of thankfulness.
I’m also reminded that we are called to be thankful to God. We are not called to simply be thankful generally but to God specifically. I love how Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 1:4, I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. His gratitude was directed to God. It is a great reminder that our gratitude is not just a pleasant emotion, but also an act of worship.
This Thanksgiving season, I hope we spend time giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Since the gospel frees us and forgives us from our sin. I also hope that we allow our faith to broaden and deepen our gratitude. So, I would encourage each of you to spend some time thinking and praying on the many things that we have to be thankful for. Blessings.