“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
This is Paul’s encouragement to the faithful in Thessalonica. Be thankful, no matter what happens. Don’t be thankful because of your circumstances, but in spite of your circumstances (good or bad) be thankful! Why? Because God – who knows for more about life then we do – firmly believes that this is the best way for you to live in relationship with God. It is something that is hinted at over and over again in the Bible. Being thankful is right up there with demonstrating our trust in God (through obedience) as the primary ways we build our faith. As our faith grows, so does not just our experience of God but also our awareness of God’s movement in our lives.
Throughout this past month at Alpine we have examined this theme of gratitude and thanks. How gratitude shapes our experience of life and empowers us to become people who give. Cultivating a grateful/thankful heart is so important because it helps to release us from the prisons of bitterness, rage, selfishness, resentment, and jealousy. One of the most powerful lessons that we discovered in our worship series is that being grateful helps us to see and recognize God’s prevalent blessings in our lives. The more we are grateful, the more we encounter and see just how much God has blessed us. We become simply more aware, and through that awareness we have deeper and more life changing experiences of God.
Here are some of the other truths that we have encountered as we examined the theme of gratitude and thanks.
- Our lives are stories that are the platform for powerful, life, changing lessons
- We need to tell stories of generosity. Both God’s generosity towards us and how that generosity flows through us.
- Our circumstances are not what stops of from being people of gratitude. Our heart is what stops us.
- We give because God gives and God does not stop giving
- We were created in God’s image. Unless we are a giving people we are not truly ourselves.
- Being grateful requires us to focus on what we have instead of what we do not have.
We become generous when we allow gratefulness to swell up in our hearts and express itself.
The Thanksgiving Holiday will be here soon. Thanksgiving is so great because it teaches us the importance of expressing our thanks – to God and others. Take time over the next few weeks to do just that. Express your thanks. Then watch how it changes you and the people all around you.
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