“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving is over. At least, that’s what most Americans think as they rush into Christmas preparations. For believers, however, thanksgiving is more than a brief season. We’re told to give thanks in everything; in every situation. But what about after such a difficult year? Many people don’t see much cause for gratitude in 2020. Are we in such a hurry to escape the discomfort of this year that we’ve failed to be grateful? Is thanksgiving over?
We’re usually most thankful when our immediate surroundings include nice things and comfortable circumstances. Thankfulness can be a little harder during a challenging season of life. That’s probably because we tend to associate gratitude with God’s blessings rather than God’s will. The fact that God tells us to give thanks at all times means that it’s not only possible, it’s what He expects of His children. So, gratitude is a matter of obedience for believers.
You see, biblical gratitude does not come from the outside in, but from the inside out. The difference is easy to spot. When our emotions are in charge, our moods and attitudes change with our circumstances. Being on that kind of emotional roller coaster is actually a warning sign of shallow faith. Gratitude shouldn’t be dependent on how we feel.
As we mature spiritually something different begins to happen. We understand that every good thing we have is a gift from our heavenly Father (James 1:17). He owes us nothing; we owe Him everything. Without the Lord we have no hope for anything beyond what this world can offer. We learn to trust Him even more when challenging times stretch our faith. And as our faith grows deeper so does our sense of gratitude and contentment.
How does your mindset about giving thanks measure up with God’s Word? Can you genuinely express gratitude for how God has worked in your heart and life this year? Or is thanksgiving over? Remember, faith-driven thankfulness is the result of focusing on what’s eternal instead of the here and now. The path to God’s will is paved with gratitude.