One of the most consistently explored topics in the Bible surrounds the importance of being thankful as believers in Christ Jesus. Being thankful in all circumstances is by no means an easy thing to accomplish alone, but I do believe that as Christians with the indwelt Holy Spirit it is not so much a recommendation than it is an act of obedience to the Lord. Throughout this post I will highlight three central reasons explaining why the Christian attitude should be one of gratitude.
As Christians who live in this broken and seemingly hopeless world, we are set apart from the world in the sense that we have received the greatest Gift God could have ever provided: His Son, Jesus Christ. Not only has He willingly given Himself to us for the forgiveness of our sins, but He Himself has promised eternal life for those who believe in Him (John 3:36). Death truly has no power over believers who trust and surrender their lives to Him (1 Corinthians 15:55). This Good News alone is more than enough for us to be continually rejoicing in. As an extension of this remarkable Truth, the depth of God’s unconditional love is exemplified to us since “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This thankful attitude is multiplied by both the hope we already have in eternal life after death, in addition to God’s unconditional love serving as added assurance that He will continue to care for us.
Secondly, Christians who strive to continually convey this thankful attitude are able to more effectively respond to life’s challenging circumstances. When we channel our focus to expressing gratitude towards the Lord’s blessings rather than on our burdens, this gratitude overshadows the power that our burdens would otherwise have over us. This practical teaching is expressed in Philippians 4:6-7 below:
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Interestingly, when we allow burdens to gain a foothold in our minds we are opening the doors to anxious thoughts which is actually what robs Christians of their joy. It is no wonder then that throughout Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus repeatedly teaches us not to worry. Jesus, better than anyone, fully recognized the perils and futility that worry/anxiety brings into our already-fractured lives. I don’t know about you but I would much rather have this awesome peace of God guarding my heart and mind than to ever allow myself to be consumed with any form of anxiety. The beauty is that God’s promises are always true, meaning that this form of transcendent peace is freely given to us as believers upon asking and trusting in Him. Ultimately, the attitude of gratitude should be something that we all aim to maintain particularly during the trying circumstances that we all find ourselves contending with.
Thirdly, vigorously seeking to uphold this essential attitude of gratitude in the Christian Life is an excellent tool for witnessing in the lives of unbelievers. While it is typically impossible to control our circumstances, what we can control is our reaction to these circumstances.During life’s hardships we are able to exhibit our unshakable security that we have in Christ through remaining joyful: by simply being thankful for what the Lord has done for us, and also for the unbreakable hope of eternal life we have in Him. With Christ on our side, we are able to remain anchored in Him regardless of how bleak our surrounding circumstances seem at the time. This form of empowerment enables us to take charge of their circumstances as opposed to allowing our circumstances to control us. In doing so, the glory of God is able to be magnified which should always be the ultimate goal in our Christian lives!
These three compelling reasons should provide a solid basis for why Christians should desire to foster and maintain this powerful attitude of gratitude.
In summary, this attitude of gratitude is hugely beneficial for our own walk of faith; it helps us maintain a steady supply of joy; and lastly it serves as an effective witnessing tool.
I pray that as Christians we can continually remind ourselves of Your Sacred Words contained in Psalm 118:21 where it says:
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.
Help us to recognize the simplicity and transcendent power freely given to us when we wisely choose to be thankful regardless of the sufferings we encounter within this life. I pray that we can confidently call to mind the words from Romans 8:18 where we are encouragingly told that:
18 …our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
To God be the Glory Alone,
In Jesus’ Holy Name,