It’s Thanksgiving Day! Today serves as a reminder (although brief and often neglected), that we should be thankful for things. Perhaps this is the most neglected part of Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for, and I think many of us (self included) can learn to better express our gratitude.

 

1) The act of giving thanks should be a daily experience. The Bible says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing.” And yet as part of that admonition, we are also told “in everything give thanks.” Ever wonder how you could pray without ceasing? Keep a spirit of gratitude, and tell God what you’re thankful for. This is a legitimate and important part of prayer. It’s also God’s will (command) for you.

 

2) It feels good to give thanks. The Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6, 7. In this verse, thanksgiving is again associated with prayer. The result of this kind of prayer is an amazing sense of peace that God will give us. Notice it guards our hearts and minds. It brings change to our emotions and changes the way we think.

I honestly believe depression would be a lot less common if we continuously gave thanks. The brain cannot dwell on positive and negative thoughts at the same time. If we replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, then a change will occur in our mind. Choices and thoughts form physical pathways in our brain that grow bigger and stronger with repetition (habits). Our brain can actually be changed by following a different choice of action (in that way, 2 Cor 5:17 is a reality when it says Christ can make us a new creation. Our brain chemistry can actually be changed). Complainers are seldom happy. Give thanks instead!

I remember the story of a minister who visited a woman who was filled with depression. He thought the act of thanksgiving would help her, so he asked her to list some things she was thankful for. Her condition had gotten so bad that she couldn’t think of anything! So then he asked her if she was thankful for her toothbrush. Yes, she was (even though she thought it was silly). But starting from there, she was able to start listing things she was thankful for, and as a result her attitude was completely changed. She became free from her depression because of her expression of gratitude.

Even if we don’t feel like it, expressing gratitude can change us so that we are truly thankful. As an exercise, speak only positive words for the next two weeks. No critical speaking of anyone or anything. It will make a difference.

 

3) This lifestyle is an excellent witness. Who do you thank when you give thanks? Ultimately, our thankfulness is towards God. Thankfulness cannot exist alone, it must be expressed to someone else. When you’re with friends, express thanks. “I’m thankful for the weather today.” “I’m so thankful for learning this…” Perhaps your friends will wonder, “Thankful to whom?” To God. Yes, I believe in a God who loves me, and I tell Him thanks.

 

So, to conclude with this quote a friend of mine posted on her Facebook yesterday, “Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.” – E.P. Powell

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advertisements