(Mar. 27, 2018 version)
"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 word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:15-16
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) "For life does not arise from us, nor from our own nature; but it is bestowed according to the grace of God. And therefore he who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him who imparted it, shall receive also length of days for ever and ever" Ireneaus Against Heresies book 2 ch.34.3 p.411
There are at least six aspects to living thankfully, and you can remember them with the acronym THANKS
Three ways to be thankful
Hunting for how to show thanks
Avoiding appreciation killers
Never stop being grateful
Know why you are thankful
Showing Thanks, not just feeling thankful
Three Ways to be Thankful
There are three ways God wants us to be thankful, though some only do the first two, to varying degrees.
Give thanks to the Lord. 1 Cor 16:4-8,34-41; 2 Chr 5:13; 7:3,6; 20:21; 31:2; Ps 69:30; 75:1; 106:47; 118:28; Jer 33:11; Dan 6:10; 2 Cor 9:12,15; Col 1:12; Rev 4:9; 7:12
Give thanks for helping others, 2 Cor 1:11, and God's grace reaching them. 2 Cor 4:15
Offer God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Lev 7:12-15; 7:12; 22:29; 2 Chr 29:31; Ps 50:14,23; 56:12; 107:22; 116:17; Jer 17:26
Come before God with thanksgiving. Ps 95:2; 110:4
Thanksgiving is integral to worship. 1 Cor 14:16-17. Enter His gates with thanksgiving. Ps 100:4; 118: 19
Thankfully rewarding others
King Xerxes rewarded Mordecai in Esther 6:3-5.
Giving thanks to God for others
Give thanks to God for others. Rom 1:8; 1 Cor 1:4; 2 Cor 8:16 (for Titus); Eph 1:16; 1 Tim 2:1; Php 1:13; Col 1:3; 1 Th 1:2; 2:13; 3:9; 2 Th 1:3; 2:13; Phm 4
Do good to others that they might give thanks to God for you. 2 Cor 9:11-13
Hunting for How to Show Thanks
Joyfully giving thanks to God. Ps 42:4; Col 1:12;
Express your thanks through singing. Neh 1:31;40; 11:17; 12:8; 12:24,27,46; Psalm Ps 7:17; 28:7; 30:12; 69:30; 147:7; Ezra 3:11; Isa 51:3; Jer 30:19; Jonah 2:9 and musical instruments 1 Chronicles 25:3
Repaying others with kindness, such as Xerxes did to Mordecai in Esther 6:3-5.
Avoiding Appreciation Killers
Pride: there was a prayer of thanksgiving that was not pleasing to God. Lk 18:11
God does not like an insincere offering in Amos 4:5.
People expect a spouse or someone else to meet all of their needs. They will fail to fulfill your standards, when you except them to fulfill what is God's job.
Self-centeredness: if other people don't matter much to you, it can be a very lonely world.
You can thank someone for just doing their job, but you should not expect or require thanks, especially when you are just doing your job. See Lk 17:9
Thanks God we were set free from being slaves to sin. Rom 6:17-18. "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Rom 7:24b-25.
It is surprising that Thanksgiving is antidote some things in Ephesians 5:4: obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking.
Never Stop Being Grateful
Thank and praise God for victory. Exodus 15:1-21
Thank God when times are tough. Daniel 2:23
Regardless of the situation, be constant in your thanks and prayer. Daniel 6:10
After repentance, Manasseh set up an altar to thank God. 2 Chr 33:16.
Always give thanks. Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; even at midnight. Psalm 119:62
Thank God every day in 1 Chr 23:30 (Levites), or night and day as Paul did in 2 Tim 1:3.
Give thanks before eating. Mt 14:19; 15:36; 26:26-27; Mk 6:41; 8:6; 14:22-23; Lk 9:16; 22:17,19; 24:30; Jn 6:11,23; Acts 27:35; 1 Cor 11:24; 1 Tim 4:3-4
Eat with thankfulness. 1 Cor 10:30; Rom 14:6
Be thankful before the Lord's Supper and what it is a remembrance of. 1 Cor 10:16.
Know Why to be Thankful
Give thanks for what God has done. Isaiah 12:4
Anna thanked God for sending His savior (Luke 2:38)
Being rescued from this body of death. Romans 7:25
Paul thanked God for giving him strength and considering him faithful in 1 Timothy 1:12.
God answers our prayer. Ps 118:21
God leads us in triumphal procession. 2 Cor 2:14
Because of God's righteousness. Ps 7:17; 119:62
God's love endures forever and His wonderful deeds. Ps 106:1; 107:1,8,15,21,31; 118:1,29; 136:1,2,3,26
We'll thank God when He begins to reign. Rev 11:17
Showing Thanks, Not Just Feeling Grateful
There is a story of a couple that had been married for many years, and wife who asked her husband why he never said he loved her. He defended himself saying he did tell her he loved her, at the wedding, and if anything changed he would let her know!
Do you express your love and thankfulness to your spouse? As close as the Trinity is, Jesus thanked the Father in these places.
At the raising of Lazarus. John 11:41.
At the feeding of the five thousand (Mt 14:19; Mk 6:41; Lk 9:16; Jn 6:11,23
At the feeding of the four thousand. Mt 15:36; Mk 8:6
At the Lord's Supper. Mt 26:26,27; Mk 14:22-23; Lk 22:17,19
After Emmaus. Luke 24:30
How much more do we need to give thanks to God, for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Philippians 4:6, Colossians 3:16; 4:2, and other Scriptures show we are to have a thankful attitude. Many other verses teach that we should outwardly express thanks, such as Hebrews 12:28, 2 Corinthians 9:11-13, Colossians 3:17.
Give thanks to God publicly. Psalm 35:18; 105:1
It is a sin not to be ungrateful. Rom 1:21; Lk 17:12-16. Compared to all of your prayers asking God for things, what percent of that time do you thank God for what He has given you? 50%, 150%?
Now you have a homework assignment. Think how you would be different if you had never met your spouse. Think of at least one way you are better off because you met them. Then tell them you are thankful God let them in your life for that reason.
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever." Ps 30:12
All verse from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.