Thanksgiving is an essential. The problem is, we don’t think of it as an essential. We think it’s important. We think it’s nice. Too often though, we act as if gratitude is an add-on rather than an essential.
Consider this sobering comment from God’s man, Paul:
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. – Romans 1:21
In Romans 1, Paul explains the causes and the effects of human sinfulness. Talking about how such sinfulness is passed from generation to generation, Paul declares that we know about God but refuse to honor Him as God and we refuse to give Him thanks. Isn’t that something? One of the key contributors to our serious sinful state is that we live unthankful lives. We struggle with being mindful of what we have to be thankful for and who we should be thankful to. This lack of thankfulness does something to how we think. Paul says that such dishonor to God darkens our heart. In today’s language, we would say that forgetting God in this way makes us unable to see life clearly for what it truly is.
Some examples of life without thankfulness (number 5 may surprise you!):
- Forgetting God’s part in our lives contributes to pride – We deserve these things because we earned them without help.
- Forgetting God’s part in our lives contributes to hopelessness and discouragement – The bad things in our lives have no purpose and so we are doomed.
- Forgetting God’s part in our lives contributes to forgetfulness – Since I don’t stop to say thanks to God, I take my blessings for granted.
- Forgetting God’s part in our lives contributes to blaming God when things are bad – I don’t acknowledge His leadership everyday so when life feels out of control, I blame Him.
- Forgetting God’s part in our lives contributes to weighty guilt – Without a vibrant connection to Jesus, my mistakes grow large in my heart instead of leading me to rejoice in His continual forgiveness.
Did you notice that our thoughtlessness, our frustration, and our persistent sense of personal failure all grow in the presence of thanklessness? The opposite happens when we remember God’s essential part in our lives:
- Pride becomes humility because without God our accomplishments are empty and weak.
- Discouragement becomes faith as we notice the times when hard things turn our for our good.
- Our moments of gratitude turn into grateful hearts that take no person or blessing for granted.
- The ups and downs of life no longer frighten us because we regularly live in the knowledge that God is in control.
- Our mistakes become just another reason to praise Jesus because His mercy is new every single morning!
This is the power of thanksgiving in our hearts. It isn’t just a day on the calendar. It is an essential part of living with God every day.
Something to think about,