When a dog obeys our commands, we pat him on the head and give him a treat. When a child does what we ask, we give her allowance or take her out for ice cream. When people and institutions earn our respect, we respond with gratitude, appreciation and acknowledgement.
The problem is, we do all this because it’s expected of us. People do something good, and we respond with the appropriate cultural manners. It may sound like gratitude, but rarely is it the same thing as heartfelt, genuine thankfulness.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 18, Paul tells the Church that it’s God’s will in Christ that they give thanks in everything. When someone gives us a gift, we say thank you. But what then do we do with the person who has given us everything and more? A simple thank you isn’t really enough!
The only option is to approach thanksgiving as a lifestyle and a way of being—not just something we can step into and out of at will.
After all, God is never shy about telling us how thankful He is for us. One of His favorite ways to share his presence with us is to tell us something He loves about us.
This is the kind of deep, empathetic connection that fosters true intimacy, and that true intimacy is impossible to hide. It’s transformative. It changes our lives forever. We cannot be the same people again.
It’s not prayer that creates a gateway to God’s presence – it’s simple, heartfelt, ecstatic thankfulness—voiced as praise.
A lifestyle of rejoicing allows us to enter His presence, giving us the opportunity to hear His voice. The further we step into that presence, the more of His voice we can hear. The more of His voice we can hear, the more that intimate connection with Him is strengthened, the more we have to be thankful for, the greater our capacity for thanksgiving, the further we can enter his presence.
All that’s needed for us to do our part is thanksgiving. By entering his presence with praise, not petitions, we learn how to love Him all over again, and all over again, and all over again.
There’s always something to be thankful for.
Good or bad, our lives have meaning through Christ that they would have gained without Him. We can thank God for that opportunity to excel, and for His provision and favor. We can thank Him for always being with us, and for setting up and maintaining a system in which, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, we are always looked after.
We have Christ as our inspiration, the Spirit as our mentor and the Father’s wings to take shelter in at all times. That’s more than we could ever truly ask for in life, and far more than we ever expected, even in our wildest dreams. A provision and a plan that exceeds our dreams? That’s something to be thankful for! That’s something to build a lifestyle of thanksgiving around!
This is the fundamental spiritual truth of our lives: We live as celebrants, and celebration is our lives.
The party is here. Shall we get it started?
So, what’s one thing you have to be thankful to the Father for today?
P.S. If interested in learning more about how to cultivate this lifestyle of thanksgiving, download “The Art of Thinking Brilliantly.”