Give thanks to the LORD
“It is good to give thanks … to the LORD,” It’s noticeable in our culture that thanksgiving has gone horizontal. At this season of gratitude, it is good to express your appreciation for others – and I never want to discourage that. But what is being lost in our generation is thanksgiving primarily being God-ward. What does giving thanks actually do? And how can we better give thanks to the LORD. I believe that it does at least 3 things: it honors, it rejoices and it connects.
It honors. Giving thanks to someone specifically honors them for something – a gesture, a gift, an extra effort, their character, a rescue even. We do not live as if all the goodness in our lives is our own doing. No, we are recipients. 1 Corinthians 4:7 says: “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Giving thanks rejoices. The act of gratitude is inherently joyful – it is glad, smiling, and pleasant. So giving thanks echoes that gladness of heart back to its source. And because of its joyful character, the act of giving thanks (the discipline even) is an enduring weapon against bitterness or despair. You cannot be bitter as you are rehearsing how glad you are. You cannot be overcome by despair while your heart is being lifted up. So consider that as our society has lost its appetite for giving thanks to God that it has also become more sour and depressed.
And finally, giving thanks connects. Expressing gratitude keeps the experience from being just within the beneficiary; it makes it public especially to the source of the good you’ve experienced. It declares to the giver, “My life is better because of you.” And this is an aspect of repentance and confession. In sin I lived as if God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was un-necessary, which in reality is categorically untrue. So in repenting, I turn from that lie to openly declare the truth that I was wrong about Him. Rather than being replaceable He is holy; rather than being irrelevant He is central and life-giving to everything and everyone, even me. And in the miracle of His grace in Jesus, rather than destroying me justly as He could have, HE suffered and died so that I could be saved. So when I give thanks – especially for all He has done to redeem me – we connect. And every time I give thanks to the LORD, at all times in every circumstance, I connect again. Honoring Him and full of joy.
Things to pray for:
- Humility. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see just how necessary the LORD is, even when you have not honored Him in thanksgiving.
- Repentance. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you turn from ingratitude – even bitterness and despair to live with a thankful heart toward Him.
- Faith. Ask the Father to give you a profound sense of gratitude for Who He is and for all that HE has done in Christ to save you.
- Joy. Ask the Spirit to bear in you the fruit of joy, especially without regard for your circumstances. Ask Jesus to help you see how at any time or place, that you can honor Him, rejoice in Him and live inseparably connected to Him.