As the season begins, I have been thinking that I would be remiss if I didn’t include a post during this Thanksgiving Holiday about being thankful. While I still think this is true, and while I am (obviously) doing that now, I’ve also realized that this is not the whole story.
I am truly remiss if I am purposely, thoughtfully thankful on Thanksgiving…and not the other 364 days of the year.
As part of my journey into living joyfully submitted, I try to daily find at least one thing that I am truly thankful for. Of course, I’m human and not successful at this every day. I get busy and forget to be purposeful. I have a bad day.
Thing is, if I’m honest with God and with myself, I know I will have many less bad days – and have much more inner peace on the days that are bad – if I do remember to be purposefully thankful daily. So how do I do that? How do I make myself remember something so easy to forget in the business of “doing life”?
Colossians gives us a clue:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be thankful.
Colossians 2:7 tells us to be “overflowing with thankfulness.”
In addition, the Bible directs us over 200 times to PRAISE God. Praise grows out of thankfulness. In the Word, thankfulness is also one way to show or to give God praise, and so the two are intertwined.
So, what does that mean for you and me in our purposeful giving of thanks?
When I look into the Word, and see that the directives for thankfulness are tied to words like “devote,” “rule,” and “overflowing,” I am convicted that I am looking at thankfulness a little narrowly.
If I am being thankful in prayer (Col. 4:2), and devoting myself to prayer as we are instructed, doesn’t it follow that I should be devoting myself to thankfulness? If I am letting the peace of Christ rule in my heart, and I am to be thankful for that (Col. 3:15), doesn’t that mean thankfulness would consequently also be ruling in my heart? And if I am living in line with these Truths, will thankfulness not naturally be “overflowing” from my being?
Please don’t misunderstand me – I still believe it is important to take time to stop and purposely reflect on those specific things we are thankful for every day, and that upon that reflection it is imperative that we offer our thankfulness in praise to God. But I am convinced there is so much more to thankfulness.
Thankfulness is not only a warm-fuzzy feeling you get when you stop to think about the “pluses” in your life. I Thessalonians 5:18 directs us to be thankful in ALL circumstances. That means on the bad days, when the “business” of living life distracts you from purposefulness, when you’re stressed, when everything seems to be going wrong, and even during times of tragedy.
Instead, thankfulness is a natural result of a life lived in thankful praise according to God’s Truth, and to the peace of Christ ruling in our hearts…a natural outpouring of the awesome realization of who He is and of “how wide and long and high and deep” His love for us is (Ephesians 3:18).
And so, this Thanksgiving weekend – and by His grace every moment hereafter – may I live overflowing with thanks for His “indescribable gift,” and thus for all of the gifts He gives, which flow from His love for me!