What are some of the alternatives to thanks-giving?
Sometimes, we just don’t ‘feel‘ like expressing thanks. Here are a few illustrations of the repercussions when people don’t offer thanks:
Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Ephesians 5:4 “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Allow me to summarize a bit, then. Sometimes when our hearts are inclined to be ungrateful, we are more susceptible to the ways of the world and the call of Madam Folly (see Proverbs). Other times, we might find our lips mocking, joking, or condemning instead of offering thanks, praise, and encouragement. Still other times, we are gripped with anxiety when we focus on our circumstances rather than God, who is always greater than our need. Each of these instances tear down our relationship with the Lord and with others.
So, scripture instructs us instead to praise Him, give Him glory, offer up thanks, and pray with anticipation that God provides.
This past week, I’ve been setting aside time each morning on my way to work to give thanks for things God is doing, who He is, and how He has provided. When an upsetting time came up this weekend, I actually thought to myself, ‘Alright, what out of this can I give thanks for?’ Friends, that’s not like me. If nothing else, I could say thanks that the Spirit is working that I would ask such a question when I’m prone to mentally itemizing every detail that is going wrong!
As I was listening to this week’s sermon, I was gently reminded to expect opposition. Here I am, asking the Lord to help me change an area of my life where He hasn’t been on the throne. I’ve let doubt, fear, and complaint take their turns sitting there, instead. That’s not going to be a smooth transition; trials will come and have already arrived. But God has taught us to give thanks anyway. He modeled it through Jesus and He equips us to do so by the work of His Spirit.