Living as believers in today’s world is often uncomfortable. Thankfulness and gratitude have gone out of style and been replaced by a selfish, “give me/me first” way of thinking. It’s no coincidence that at the same time, belief in Christ has become increasingly unpopular. In an environment that doesn’t know God, bad attitudes proliferate; this is why giving thanks causes us to stand out so brightly as His people.
We know God by developing a personal relationship with Him through constant study of His Word, which increases our faith. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The more time we spend with Him and get to know Him, the more we learn about His nature. He’s faithful to us, and He’ll never let us down. Experiencing the goodness, mercy, and love God gives us, even when we don’t deserve it, triggers a thankfulness that simply can’t be denied.
Negative emotions are all around us. Christians who walk boldly into the midst of those emotions and declare their gratitude are using thankfulness as a spiritual weapon to dispel the darkness. There’s a devil loose in the world intent on terrorizing us, attacking our minds, and ultimately killing us, but Jesus has already defeated him and handed us the victory in this war. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). This, alone, is worth celebrating.
Having faith in the promises God made to us—and there a lot of them—automatically moves us into thanksgiving. Studying the Scripture reveals them to us, one by one. We’ve been forgiven of our sins, given new life, saved from hell, set on the path to heaven, made righteous in God’s eyes, and given authority in several realms. These are just a few of them; they’re gifts we didn’t earn. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
The world offers us plenty of learning opportunities, but many of them can be negative and lead us into wrong-thinking. We can’t depend on what others know because their limited knowledge and wisdom can let us down. By contrast, developing our faith in God, who teaches us what we need to know to succeed in life, is a sure thing. His power is limitless and is the one thing we can confidently trust in. “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).
Trusting in God’s love for us, no matter what we do or how many times we miss the mark, generates a grateful heart. The more we think on it, the more we want to spend time with Him and enjoy being in His presence. We can be thankful that we no longer have to work hard to love Him because of an Old-Testament law that says we’re required to. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Receiving His unconditional acceptance shields our hearts from negative thinking.
A selfish attitude limits us. Believing in God, and walking in that faith, removes all limitations. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). When the world threatens to tie us down to its prevailing mindset, thanksgiving empowers us to break free. This is how we shine as God’s people.