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The Necessity of Giving Thanks

November 22, 2012

An attitude of thankfulness is not simply the polite thing to do, it is necessary for mental and spiritual health.  Thankfulness brings a variety of wonderful things in your life!  Thankfulness fills your life with a focus on the positive.  Thankfulness frees you from being a victim to the negative things and negative people in your life.  It puts you in control of your welfare instead of circumstance.  Thankfulness puts the focus positively on others, not you.  It chooses to see the good in them and to be impacted by it more significantly than the bad.  It combats the poison of pride.  Thankfulness helps you see the eternal in the temporal.  It is realignment to the truth that our end, if it is in Christ, is becoming one with the being that fills everything in every way.  Thankfulness helps us understand that everything up until that point is just progress.

We live in a world that is anxious.  Anxiety is the most common mental illness in america.  The funny thing?  I think anxiety makes sense.  Anxiety is a flash of true, deeper understanding of the way of the world.  It is touching it.  It is feeling it.  And it is realizing that this world is going to come to an end, so are we, and there is little we can do to control it.

Thankfulness combats that.  Thankfulness is a sudden flash of true, deeper understanding of the unbelievable will God has to bring us into his goodness.  It is touching it.  It is feeling it.  It is realizing that God’s life is bigger than the world’s death.  It is realizing that with him in control our destiny is beauty and glory.

Scripture is filled with eloquent exhortation to give thanks.  The giving of thanks, often seen as an onerous command, is actually exhorted because of the beautiful things it gives us.  Paul instructs Timothy in 1 Tim. 2:1 to give thanks for all people.  Why?  So that “we may live peaceful and quite lives in all goodness and holiness.  This is good …” (vs. 2).  Paul tells the Thessalonians  to give thanks “in all circumstances” for this is “God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  In Philippians, Paul cites thankfulness as part of the cure for anxiety.  In fact, Paul mentions being thankful in nearly all of his letters to churches, perhaps most powerful explaining its life giving attributes in Colossians by connecting its use with the message of Christ dwelling richly in us, the peace of Christ ruling our hearts, and unity of peace amongst the body of believers.

Thankfulness is ultimately empowering.  It is a balm for the soul and gives freedom to its users.  In our own society it palpably brings vigor to our country and a desire for the good.  Let’s pause and reall take time to properly give thanks during this year’s Thanksgiving.  It will do wonderful freeing things for our souls.  As Charles Hodge said, “Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be dumb aliens here.”

Much love in Christ and thanks for all of you,


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