“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~Colossians 1:11-14 (ESV)
It’s that time again!! Time for turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and for me to wonder if the Dallas Cowboys will ever play the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. For some (including yours truly), it’ll be a day of football, cooking, eating, and the sudden urge for someone at the Thanksgiving table to say a little something before they carve up some white meat (please pass the gravy with that). For others, it’ll be a day of difficulty because things in life haven’t gone in such a way that they can feel being thankful let alone see it at all. Yeah, Thanksgiving Day can be a rough day to get through and those “Black Friday” ads shoving a commercialized Christmas down our throats doesn’t help either.
But you know what? Thankfulness was an important subject to the Apostle Paul and is an extremely important component in the Word of God. The Greeks used some really fancy words to express the concept of thankfulness (charizomai homologeo…told ya it was fancy) and in our language, it means to basically acknowledge or confess grace. That’s why it is always important to be thankful in prayer, none the matter of circumstance, we need to acknowledge the grace imparted to us by God. Even Secularland gets grace imparted to them, “For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matt 5:45b) Don’t forget the air to breathe, food to eat, clothes to wear…you get the picture.
For those of us who do call ourselves children of God being thankful in all things should be a reflex. Yeah, I know, we fail at this and so do I but, never-the-less, being thankful says we recognize God exists in our everyday lives, in the big moments and those small still ones. Besides, we’re commanded to do so in Scripture, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4) “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18) are just a few examples to go with and remember, “All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” (2 Cor 4:15)
Now I have a warning for you, there is a dangerous consequence to thanklessness and Secularland knows it all too well. “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.” (Romans 1:21) Bitterness, complaining and grumbling are the by-products of an unthankful heart and they promote pettiness and an unhealthy occupation of self, people and problems. This stuff creates depression and feelings of hopelessness because we have become focused on the stuff around us and not on the person of Jesus Christ.
So, Christian do yourself a favor and keep living in the Word of God (it’s where your focus should be anyway) and yes, I am preaching that to myself as well. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct your steps on the narrow road. Being a child of God is a pretty cool thing so that alone deserves your thankfulness, remember your calling, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Col 3:15) and to “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Heb 12:15)
This Thanksgiving, before we watch the games (one day it’ll be Dallas against Detroit, I have faith), bless the food (pass the stuffing), and thank those around us who have meant so much to us; let’s take more than just a few minutes to assess if we’ve been living a thankful life. Let’s assess the way we have been living before a gracious and forgiving God. Let’s seek His forgiveness for putting Him on the shelf and re-commit to thankful living, so a very selfish and thankless world will see Him in how we live and ask “why?” And if they choose to turn a deaf ear to us…Let’em eat stuffing anyway!! Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.