Posted: 13th October, 2015

Giving Thanks to God

Fall Leaves

Here in Canada, we have just celebrated Thanksgiving. As I look at the beautiful array of colorful fall leaves adorning the countryside, and reflect on God’s care for us, I realize we have so much to be thankful to God for.

Have you ever thought about it? One of the most amazing sentences in the Bible is Jesus saying, “Thank You Father”. Even more amazingly, Jesus says this to His Father not at a high point in His life or ministry, but as the cross looms before Him, and Jesus knows that He must soon taste the full fury of God’s wrath. Furthermore, Jesus speaks this knowing that in a few moments He must face the rage-filled religious leaders of Israel who are plotting to kill Him because He raised a man from the dead. Yet, in the face of all this, Jesus looks up to heaven and says, “Thank You Father” (John 11:41).

This is incredible. When things get tough, we are so quick to complain; but Jesus, facing hell itself being unleashed upon Him, thanks God!

Jesus’ life was far from easy. In fact, even the people He loved were arrayed against Him. Jesus brings life and restoration to us, and He receives a criminal’s death. And only once in three years of ministry is there recorded even a simple word of thanks to Jesus for all He has done. Yet through it all Jesus does not stop giving thanks to God!

You see, God shows us a much better way to experience even the bitterest miseries of life than what we do by nature. For example, in Psalm 42, David, in the midst of despair, takes himself in hand and decides (that’s right, he decides!) that because he will eventually be delivered out of the despair, and that because he will eventually rejoice once again in God, that he will rejoice now. And so this is what he does. He challenges his soul, he exhorts his soul, he speaks to his soul, and he takes himself in hand and rises out of the abyss and into the joyful presence of the Lord. Notice: David’s circumstances have not changed. His situation is still dire. His enemies are still there. But his focus has changed, and so everything has changed.

If you belong to Jesus, you have every reason to be thankful to God, because, regardless of your circumstances, He “has blessed you with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). It is a blessing that is pressed down and flowing over. And we see just what these blessings are: God chose us, He loved us, He predestined us, He adopted us, He redeemed us, He forgave us, He taught us. God, the God of heaven and earth, has done all this FOR US!

We rarely thank God, but because of who He is and what He has done for us, every day our lives should overflow with thanks to Him!

Consider Daniel. When he learns that all who are found praying to any god or man other than King Darius will be thrown into the lions’ den, we read that “three times a day Daniel got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks just as he had done before.” Daniel didn’t blame God, he didn’t abandon God, he THANKED God!!!

This is a challenge to us, but if David could do it facing enemies, if Daniel could do it facing lions, and if Jesus could do it even facing hell, so too can we!

How do we do this? We can do this when we remember that our thanks is to be God-centered; not man-centered, or thing-centered. God deserves thanks from us because of who He is and what He has done. We read: “Thanks be to You, O God… for Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty” (1Chronicles 29:10-11). And throughout Scripture we read: “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”

Who are we, that God should send His Son to die for us? And who are we, that God should make us a kingdom of priests? And who are we, that God should love us? And who are we that God should (as He promises) grant us the kingdom? And yet God does all this for US! He holds nothing back, and our response should be an attitude of ceaseless thanks to God. We should see that we have been overwhelmed with blessing in Jesus, that we have been given “everything necessary for life and godliness”, that we have “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”, that He has started “a great work in us”, and that we can be convinced that “He will complete it on the day of Christ Jesus.”

So, let us live with an attitude of thanksgiving to God; with your heart filled with thanksgiving for the great gift you have in Christ, and for the confidence you can have in Him as well!

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