Ephesians 1:15-16 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers
Spiritual growth comes in seasons. There are times when our faith is strong and there are times when it is not as strong. This is true with anyone. In those times when the momentum isn’t there and it seems that we’ve lost steam, it’s important that we never cease giving thanks.
It’s in those times, when we’re down but still giving thanks, that our faith grows. Our gratitude to our Father grows our love towards Him. Our increased love towards Him results in our loving others more as well.
Paul’s expression to the church in Ephesus demonstrates how thankfulness for someone else’s faith and love can encourage them and help them to be more thankful, to grow in love for God and in love for others. Thanks leads to faith, which leads to love, which leads to more love, more thanks, more faith, and on and on.
Try this. No matter how you feel right now about your current situation, just give thanks to God for all that He is. See if you don’t increase in your love for Him as you pour out gratitude. See if you don’t have a different attitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
There’s never a bad time to give thanks to God. In America we set aside a specific day to celebrate what God has done, calling it Thanksgiving, but if it’s the only day of the year that we’re grateful to our Lord, then we’re suffering from a lack of humility.
Whether we’re in good times of prosperity or bad times of suffering and need, we can be thankful because God is good. If we’re lacking something right now it’s not because God is unaware of our need; it’s rather because He has a purpose and we get to be a part of it. He will provide as only He can and we should thank Him everyday for doing so.
The difference between thanksgiving and praise is the purpose behind it. Thanks is given for what God has done, but praise is given for who He is, even when we don’t feel He’s done anything lately. Praise isn’t a response to God’s provision, but a celebration of all that He is and all that we know He can do. Thanksgiving and praise go hand-in-hand and they ought to be on our lips constantly, whether we’re currently receiving blessings or not.
Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
How should we give thanks to a God that gives us far more than we can imagine to ask for? How can we ever give Him thanks for all He’s done and all He is? Well, we never can. But the point isn’t to make things up to God with our gratitude. The point is that we should be grateful for everything and at all times.
We give thanks by praising Him. Just telling Him, literally, thank you for what you’ve given me, for what you’ve done, and for who you are. Express in words your thankfulness.
We give thanks by responding. God has done so much for us all, we can show Him we’re thankful by carrying out what He’s called us to do. We can show Him we’re grateful for what we have by sharing it with others, by taking care of what we’ve been given, and by being content.
We give thanks by trusting. When we’re in hard times and it seems as though God has forgotten about us, we can be thankful to Him for what He’s done in the past by trusting Him with the present. Sometimes just praying, knowing that God has provided in the past, and believing that He can do it again, is a great way to thank Him.
1 Chronicles 29:12-13 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
Not only should we give thanks to God for who He is, but we should be ever so grateful for all that He’s done. He’s able to do far more than we can even imagine, and He even sometimes responds to prayer better than we thought He would. Not only is He good, but He provides.
All of the good we have in our lives is from the Lord. We owe Him our thanks because nothing we have here is our own. It’s all His and He allows us to be temporary caregivers to His things. He provides our physical needs, but think of all the other wonderful blessings He gives that have nothing to do with “things” at all. The intangible blessings are usually the most satisfying.
Imagine, the Lord of all things created, in heaven and on earth, giving up His Son for the sake of mankind, that we might be reconciled to Him. Even if He never gave us another single thing in this life, that’s a sufficient reason to give praise and thanks for the rest of eternity. We give thanks because of who His is, and because of what He’s done.
Psalm 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Why give thanks? The fact is that every single day God is providing blessings for us that we may not even know about. He answers prayers that we lift up to Him, but there are so many things we are unaware of that He’s taken care of.
Even in our trials there are reasons to give thanks. We may not realize it at the time, but even the seemingly bad things that happen in our lives can be God’s way of making something happen that’s much bigger than ourselves. When we are in those down times, we have to trust that He has the best possible outcome in mind. And the only way we can trust that is if we know that God is good.
God is good. If we start with that belief and hold onto it, we can’t help but be in a constant state of gratitude. No matter what comes our way, we know that our Lord is sovereign over all things and that He’s good. That is cause for thanksgiving in itself, even without specific blessings to name. Give thanks to Him because He’s good!
Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you
Do you pray for others? Most of us do, but maybe we spend most of our time praying for the needs of others rather than going so far as to give thanks while we pray for them. The example Paul gives in many of his letters is one we should follow.
Who has been a blessing in your life? Who has done something for you that was selfless and kind? Have you thanked God for them? It’s interesting to note that Paul doesn’t specifically say here that he gives thanks for the people he’s praying for, just that he thanks God while he’s praying for them. (Actually, if you read this verse in context, it’s quite the run-on sentence)
Why don’t you try that today? As you pray, when someone comes to mind, thank God. It might be for something that person has done or you might just thank God for what He’s done while that person is on your mind.
There’s never a bad time to give thanks to the Lord. He’s never upset to hear praises given up to Him, whether it’s during a designated prayer time or just some random time during the day. Thank Him for all things, for all He’s done, for all He is, and for the people that He’s placed in your life. Let them know that you thank the Lord when you pray for them. It’s good to hear.
Isn’t it amazing how one small thing can make us forget the abundant blessings in our life? It feels that way for me. A beautiful day, healthy children, a great message in church, and one two year old’s tantrum can make me wallow like a twelve year old.
James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
There are so many things to be thankful for. A spouse, children, health, employment, friends…. all truly gifts from God. Does it ever feel like a cliche’ to be thankful for them?
Truly, we are destined for damnation without His perfect gift.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Thankfulness leads to happiness.
What are you thankful for today?
Psalm 20:4 ESV
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
Can I challenge you to take thankfulness to a new level? Mediate on God’s gifts for you every day before rising from bed, or every night before sleep. Write them down, tell others, thank God in your quiet time. Thank God for the small things. Thank God for the big things. Thank God for all things.