Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful~ Colossians 3:25
I am one of those annoying people who “needs” to know the “why” of just about everything.
I will not accept or follow medical advice I do not understand. I am more than a little reluctant to follow rules that do not make sense to me. And my long-suffering family has a tough time planning any kind of surprise for my birthday, because I generally refuse to go anywhere or do anything unless I fully understand where I’m going and what I’m going to do when I get there.
This personal quirk has created more than a few issues in my life. Doctors are not fond of my annoying little questions and rule makers are sometimes hostile to what they perceive as challenges to their authority. Moreover, my sweet family becomes openly exasperated around my birthday.
This little personality quirk has also created more than a few problems in my relationship with God. Sadly, the Almighty does not routinely feel the need to explain Himself or His commands to me, which to be perfectly honest, is tough for me. I’m still working through this issue. I do my level best to obey (most of the time) because I am fully aware of the fact that God is God and I am not. However, my obedience is not always accompanied by a joyful heart. Things are improving but at this writing the problems are far from fully resolved.
Fortunately for me, there are rare occasions where the Almighty sends me a happy surprise and clarifies His position on an issue by exposing a truth in Scripture that I have never really paid attention to before. Such was the case this past week when I came across this verse in the book of Romans:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened~ Romans 1:21
This verse sheds light on the “why” of a whole lot of imperative commands found in the New Testament. Including:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus~ 1st Thessalonians 5:18
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him~ Colossians 3:18
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God~ Philippians 4:6
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful~ Colossians 4:2
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ~ Ephesians 5:19b-20
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe~ Hebrews 12:28
According to the book of Romans, those who know God should make a regular habit of verbalizing their thankfulness to God. Not because God needs to hear our gratitude. God has no needs, but humans do have a need to be grateful. When people refuse to show God the proper gratitude, an unhealthy spiritual transformation takes place, first in our thinking and then in our hearts. If the change in attitude is not corrected, the absence of thankfulness will eventually lead to a downward moral and spiritual spiral (Romans 1:21-32). The immorality that results from a lack of gratitude will inevitably end in spiritual and moral ruin.
As we celebrate the one and only day our culture sets aside to express gratitude and thankfulness before we run headlong into the season of greed and covetousness Christmas has become. We should endeavor to remember that Thanksgiving is not just a day of feasting and football, or a quiet family day before the frenzied shopping season begins.
It is a day of preventative medicine.