Colossians 4:2, “Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God.”
A heart of Thanksgiving should be a year-round focus, not just during the month of November or on Thanksgiving Day. The Lord works year-round on our behalf, so shouldn’t we also spend our time being grateful for what He’s done and who He is? It would be a shame if the Lord only helped you one time of year or said, ‘Today is the only day I have for you; I am busy with other needs the rest of the time.’
So, the question is, when and where should we be thankful, and the answer can always be found in God’s Word.
First, we should give thanks whenever we pray- Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.” Even Paul spoke of giving thanks in prayer in his letters to the churches. Prayer should always have some context of thanksgiving. For the very reason that it takes our eyes off our problems and that “I” problem and turns our focus to God and His grace and sovereign leadership in our lives. With a heart of thanksgiving for who God is, we can begin to see things from His perspective. We see God as a person, His principles, His promises and plans, His provisions, and His purposes. With our upward focus on God, we can find strength and courage to face any painful trials we are in, and our faith and dependence on God increases.
Second, scripture tells us to give thanks in everything. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we give thanks even in the bad times, we can begin to see how God is in control and working all things together for good regardless of how they feel. Our perspective is limited. God sees the entire picture- Romans 8:28-29, James 1:2-4. Things are not good, and we are in trials, but we can still thank God because He will make them good, and He is refining us to be more like Him daily. Thanking God daily keeps our eyes focused on Jesus and helps us realize we can go to God in prayer and lay our burdens at His feet- Psalm 68:19-20, and He will lift us up and bless us.
What can we be thankful for? Colossians 1:12-13, “And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” What a hopeless world we would live in if nothing had purpose, and everything was by mere chance. Praise God for our salvation through Jesus. Praise God, He created this world, His hands are still over this world, and everything has a purpose (including those pesky raccoons and mosquitoes). It is through Jesus who lives in our hearts and lives that we are promised riches- Ephesians 3:8, and we are blessed with every spiritual blessing and are complete with Jesus- Ephesians 1:3. In all our good and bad, we can be thankful to know our Savior and who He is and that we have the opportunity to serve Him and He is daily blessing us and protecting us.
Since spiritual understanding is vital to a thankful heart, we need to have a Word-filled life with God. When we live in the Word, it keeps our focus where it belongs. God also designed us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, who helps guide and influence us. Thus we need a spirit-filled life, and to hear the Spirit more clearly, we need to be studying the Word. When we remember we are a child of God, we can always find reasons to be thankful- Ephesians 5:1-2.
Be thankful, not just through November or on Thanksgiving but all year long. When we believe in Jesus, we can find reasons to be thankful, and it is always through Jesus we will be triumphant- 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, 2 Corinthians 2:14.
I hope you have found many new ways to be thankful, and as you have studied scripture, you have been able to find many ways to thank the Lord for all He is, what He has done, and who He is in your life. Let’s continue our studies on being thankful.
Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him, and he helps me. I am very happy, and I praise him with my song.”
Psalm 35:18, “I will praise you in the great meeting. I will praise you among crowds of people.”
Psalm 69:30, “I will praise God in a song and will honor him by giving thanks.”
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on ConnectWithGodDaily