As a matter of fact, God isn’t asking you to be thankful. He’s asking you to give thanks. There’s a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your step of faith.” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
God wants us to give Him THANKS, which is often expressed through worship and praise. It is a decision and choice. Some will ask, “Why give thanks to God?” There are many reasons to give our heavenly Father thanks, but the biggest reason is for eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins. Sin leads to death and through the blood of Jesus Christ we have the promise of everlasting life.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)
When we acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, His death and resurrection and repent of our sins, we become His adopted children. We are the daughters and sons of a King, true royalty. What an honor and blessing!
As co-heirs with Jesus Christ, we will be partakers of a glorious heavenly inheritance. This inheritance will never perish, spoil or fade (1 Peter 1:4). It is incorruptible and undefiled.
“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15 (NKJV)
“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” Colossians 1:12-13 (NKJV)
But our inheritance has a condition, one that is often overlooked or ignored. Let us consider the words found in Romans 8:17….
“And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:17 (NKJV)
Many of us focus only on the encouraging words found in this verse, overlooking the clearly stated condition, “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
We must suffer WITH Christ, therein we shall thus be glorified together.
“Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:13 (NKJV)
But WHY must we suffer? Why is this life so difficult and filled with pain and loss? Remember, man is born sinful, so God uses adversity to transform us into the very image of His son, Jesus. Philippians 3:10 further states that through suffering we come to know our Lord more intimately, and God longs to have a personal and intimate relationship with all of His children. He longs for our fellowship.
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10 (NKJV)
Sadly, many Christians who have been tested with trials and adversity give up on God. They question HIS faithfulness and forget that it is THEIR OWN faithfulness to the Redeemer that must remain true. God desires a steadfast spirit. The Father is always faithful and always present, according to the Bible.
These believers, who fall off the path of righteousness, have lost sight of God’s position (Creator) and forget their own position (The created). They doubt His plan and question His love. They rely on their own understanding and forget that His ways are so much higher than their own ways. God sees the end of our journey while all we see is the next step ahead.
We are called to persevere for a reason. This life is hard, although we are given many blessings along the way. The Bible warns us that we will be tested, but we must trust God and persevere. God has lovingly equipped us for every struggle in life. When we are weak, God will be our strength. Furthermore, we have spiritual gifts that include the armor of Christ. The shield of faith is often dropped in battle and accounts for the many who walk away from God.
“If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” 2 Timothy 2:12 (NKJV)
“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 1:21 (NKJV)
Through prayer, we have communion with Christ. Conversations with anyone will bring about a bond. With prayer, our bond with Christ is strengthened, even when circumstances confuse us to no end. So, back to giving God thanks.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
In all circumstances, we are to thank God for His wonderful gift of love; Saving Grace. However, the enemy wants to change our perspective of God from Loving Father to that of a harsh and unkind Master. He wants to rob God of the glory and praise He deserves.
The Deceiver hits below the belt. He takes advantage of every opportunity, including personal moments of weakness. Hoping to fill our heads with doubt, he will use lies and half truths to cause us to question the purpose for our suffering. The thing is, we do not have to understand everything that happens to us. We just need to trust that God wants the very best for us. Trust! We must trust the love and faithfulness of our Creator. This is the test adversity is all about. With the Word stored in our heart, we can protect ourselves with our spiritual shield of faith and attack the enemy with our spiritual sword. And as we resist this foe while calling upon the name of Jesus, he MUST flee.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)
There is power in the name of Jesus. This is certainly something to give thanks for!
“Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 1:29 (NKJV)
Joy, an emotion, will fill our hearts when we consider the many blessings God has bestowed upon us. But it is when we choose to thank God, especially during our darkest times, that we offer up true worship. God commands us to give Him thanks at ALL times, through ALL circumstances in life. Within this perimeter, we will find seasons of sorrow and death, illness, weariness, and loss. To believe in His love for us, is to believe He is worthy of thanks at all times. Don’t let your emotions, or circumstances affect your attitude of thanks. Give God thanks for each new day and for the glorious gift of eternal life.
“And in that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.’ Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth.” Isaiah 12:4-5 (NAS)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1 (NIV)
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)