Attitude Of Thankfulness
A wise, older preacher once told me, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” The older I have gotten the more I understand this and the truer it has become. What we think in our minds and hearts affects our actions and lives. “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Many days end (good or bad) depending on our mindset that day. Many situations could have turned out differently if an attitude check had preceded the event. The overall mindset we possess in life will ultimately determine where we end up. This applies in the physical realm with our careers and earthly endeavors, but also, more importantly, it applies in the spiritual realm – where we will be in eternity. So, what kind of attitude should a child of God exhibit? We should have an attitude of thankfulness. God’s Word stresses the importance of having a disposition of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is key to possessing and maintaining an overall attitude that is pleasing to God. Having gratitude as our foundation will help us to continue to appreciate the love God has shown toward us and not take His blessings for granted; it will helps us keep in remembrance the sacrifice Christ paid for us, thus “setting our minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2, 15; Ephesians 4:23-24). With thanksgiving at the center of our mind, we will have the attitude of the Psalmist (Psalms 100:4) and live a Spirit-filled life as commanded in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:15-21).
Having an attitude of thanksgiving means we will think about and be thankful for Christ’s sacrifice everyday (not just on Sundays). Have you ever contemplated what it would be like in this world if Jesus had not made that sacrifice and fulfilled all righteousness? Without His death, burial, and resurrection, Christianity would be pointless and we would have no hope of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:12-18). It is a terrible thought. The wonderful fact is, God came down and dwelt among His creation showing Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He became fully human with all the weaknesses, desires, and temptations therein (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15). He did not sin because He always remembered His purpose, leaving for Christians an example to follow (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21). How thankful we should be (and encouraged too) that Jesus did not give in to the devil. He gave up full equality with the Father in order to accomplish His will and became our Passover Lamb, High Priest, and King (1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 8:1-6; Revelation 1:5). Being the True Temple, Jesus makes it possible for man to approach and come to God (1 Timothy 2:1-7). Because of Jesus Christ, we can come to God’s grace through faithful obedience (Romans 5:1-2; 6:17; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8; Hebrews 5:8-9). Our Lord made the ultimate sacrifice. May we offer the sacrifice of our lives in service to Him being ever thankful for the God of salvation (Romans 12:1-2).
Christians should be thankful for the written Word that God has given us. Our Creator has not left us to wonder aimlessly in the dark concerning our salvation. He gave us His will by inspiring over forty men to write His Word over a period of several hundred years which contained a unified theme running from the first page to the last. Maybe, there are a number of ways that God could have revealed His will to man, but He, providentially, made the Scriptures available to all men. How thankful we should be that the Bible can (and should) be in every home in the world. There is a poster online that reads, “What if we treated our Bibles like we do our cell phones? We would take it everywhere with us. We would turn back to get it if we forgot it. We would check it throughout the day for messages. We would use it for an hour or more every day.” Indeed, how different the world would be if every Christian treated God’s Word in such a way. When people receive the Word as that which is from God and not from man, rejoicing and thanksgiving follows (1 Thessalonians 2:13). His Word is, “settled in heaven”, “pure and proven”, and “a light for our path” (Psalms 12:6; 18:30; 119:89, 105). No other book can give us a glimpse of our Almighty God, give us daily bread to chew on, and guide our way to heaven. It is God-breathed and it is the only way God is going to speak to us today (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Are you truly thankful for His Word?
When we spend time studying God’s Word, we will develop an attitude of thankfulness for the blessings our Lord has given us and others, with whom we can share those blessings. The Holy Spirit emphasizes the importance of giving thanks to God for life’s necessities and spiritual blessings. One does not have to read far in the New Testament (or Psalms) to come across the word or phrase, “thanks”, “be thankful”, “thanksgiving,” etc. A few examples are: 2 Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 5:4, 20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 2:7; 3:17; 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15; and Revelation 7:12. We can see the example of a thankful attitude set forth by our Lord in Matthew 15:36, Luke 22:17-19, and John 11:41. When was the last time we thanked God that we had the courage to get out of our comfort zone and share the gospel with someone (Acts 8:3-4)? Or be persecuted for His name’s sake 1 Peter 4:16)? Or do some simple task behind the scenes that helped others Galatians 6:10)? How often (other than the prayer for giving during Sunday worship) do we give thanks to God for the means to work/make money so we may give back to Him and provide for our family (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)? There are so many blessings we take for granted and as the song says, we should “count our many blessings”. Instead of focusing on what we do not have or our own problems, let us start counting the blessings that God is giving us every day. Let us have an attitude of thanksgiving and exclaim, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord for His is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1)
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