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 like to know the “why” of everything.
I will not accept medical advice I do not thoroughly understand. I often find myself more than a little reluctant to follow rules that do not make sense to me. And my sweet family has a tough time planning any kind of surprise for my birthday, because I flat refuse to go anywhere or do anything without fully understanding where I’m going and what I’m going to do when I get there.
As you might imagine, this personal quirk has created more than a few issues in my life. Doctors are not generally fond of my bothersome little questions; and I’ve discovered the hard way that rule makers are hostile to what they perceive as my challenges to their authority. Moreover, my family gets exasperated every year right around my birthday. Their irritation tends to put a bit of a damper on the celebration.
Yet another area where this personality quirk has created problems is in my relationship with God. It’s taken a while, but I have slowly made peace with the fact that God does not routinely feel the need to explain Himself or his commands to me.
Fortunately for me, there are some rare occasions where the Almighty surprises me and clarifies His position on something by exposing a truth in Scripture that I have never really noticed before. Such was the case this past week when I came across this little gem 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 one unassuming little verse tucked into the book of Romans illuminated for me 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 Romans one, those of us who know God should regularly verbalize our thankfulness to God. Not because God has a sick need to hear our gratitude. God has no needs, but we do have a need to be grateful. When human beings decline to show proper gratitude towards God, a spiritual change takes place, first in our thinking and then in our hearts. If that change in thinking is left unchecked, 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 our own spiritual and moral ruin.
As we celebrate the one and only day our culture sets aside for thankfulness and enter the season of greed and covetousness that Christmas has become, we should endeavor to remember that Thanksgiving is more than a day of feasting and football. It is also more than a fun family day before the frenzied shopping season.
Spiritually speaking, acknowledgement of God’s goodness, thankfulness and gratitude are a kind of preventative medicine. Thankfulness is also the only fitting response to the goodness, mercy and provision of our great God.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name~ Psalm 100:4