What Is An Attitude Of Thanksgiving?

An attitude of thanksgiving is a way of life that focuses on being thankful for God and the gospel. As we grow spiritually we gain a greater appreciation for God. We learn to give thanks to God for everything. We learn to be busy in thanksgiving and give no time for complaining so that we can shine as lights in the world.
Revelation 4:9-11; 7:11-12; 11:16-18

The Focal Point Of Our Thanksgiving Is God And The Gospel

  • Thanksgiving is the expression, in our attitude and actions, of our gratitude and appreciation to God. Thus, the core of thankfulness is to recognize and take joy in the good qualities of God and what He is doing in our lives. As believers, the focal point of our thanksgiving is the gospel because it has radically changed our lives and God is working all things for our good, thus as we identify with and take pleasure in the gospel we respond to God with thankfulness. Therefore, an “attitude of thanksgiving” means to have a determined and authentic way of thinking and feeling about God that expresses our gratitude and appreciation to Him because of His work of salvation in our lives and is ultimately reflected in the way we express our state of affairs.
    Psalm 97:12; 136:1-3, 26; (Romans 8:28-31)
  • Giving thanks to God is a natural result of true salvation. God the Father has made us fit or qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (the inheritance of His people in the kingdom of light). He hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated or transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son Jesus—in whom we have redemption, peace and the forgiveness of sins through the blood of His cross. We were once alienated from God and “enemies in our minds”—our entire disposition and attitude, the very core of our being, were opposed, hostile and hateful towards God because we loved our wicked works and not God’s righteousness. But through Jesus we have been reconciled. Paul prays and desire that our spiritual growth (in knowledge, wisdom and spiritual understanding) will result in “giving thanks unto the Father” because of this work of salvation He has done.
    Colossians 1:9-14, 20-21
  • Our thanksgiving should be abounding—abundant, plentiful and overflowing. As believers we confess Jesus as “Lord” and thus we should walk in Him—to live our lives after the manner of Jesus. The Colossians were to remember what they were taught, knowing that God caused them to be firmly rooted in Jesus and continues to build them up in Jesus, thus they are established in the faith—to be soundly and firmly grounded in the gospel and Christian doctrine. Again, this should result in abundant thanksgiving—which also serves as a reminder of the “Bible facts” and protection against “fiction”.
    Colossians 2:6-7

To Give Thanks To God In Everything

  • We are to “put on” thankfulness.  As believers, we are to put on the new man—which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Jesus that created us. We allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts—meaning that our “inner person” should allow salvation and God-given serenity that comes from it to fill us in such a manner that it produces a definite result—especially that of thanksgiving. We can do this by: (1) The Bible—letting the “word of Christ” dwell in us richly—abundantly, extravagantly, distinctively. The Bible has to enter our lives and find residence there—the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to transform our lives. (2) Scriptural Music—to teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace (thanks) in our hearts to the Lord. (3) Jesus Communication and Actions—to do everything, whether in word or deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus—meaning all our interactions are lived in submission to and in the sphere of what Jesus approves of—not with an attitude of compulsory but with thanksgiving to God the Father through Jesus.
    Colossians 3:7-17; Ephesians 5:18-20; (Psalm 18:49; 26:7; 30:4; 30:12; 35:18; 50:14; 69:30; 75:1; 79:13; 92:1; 95:2; 100:4; 105:1; 106:1; 106:47; 107:1, 22; 116:17; 118:1, 29; 119:62; 140:13; 147:7)
  • We are to give thanks in everything because it is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. We are to give thanksgiving in the good times and for all of God’s blessings, but we are to also give thanks (by God’s grace) even when we go through sufferings, hardships, bad times, misfortune, heartache, punishment or consequences of our sins. We can search and try our ways and turn again to the Lord with thanksgiving knowing He is good and in control. Paul exemplified this by enduring suffering for the sake of the Corinthians so that God’s abundant grace wouldn’t only change his life but also their lives—thus as God’s grace was reaching more and more people it would cause the thanksgiving of many to redound—overflow, abound—to the glory of God. Thus the purpose of our thanksgiving to God is His glory. It means to be focused on the good even in the midst of tragedy.
    1 Thessalonians 5:18 (8-11); 2 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Lamentations 3:37-40

To Be Busy In Thanksgiving Thus No Time For Complaining

  • Our speech needs to be controlled and changed in Jesus. The following manners of speech are out of place for believers: filthiness (obscenity), foolish talking, jesting (coarse joking). Instead our manner of speaking should be the “giving of thanks”. Ungodly deeds are characterized by not thanking God but instead murmuring and complaining against God. Instead of humbly giving thanks to God, the ungodly speak “great swelling words”—inflated words of self-importance and pride. This is not to be characteristic of believers.
    Ephesians 5:1-2, 4; Romans 1:21; Jude 14-16
  • Complaining is the expression, in our attitude and actions, of our annoyance and dissatisfaction to God. Israel is a notorious example of this and their example was written for our admonition: don’t murmur—complain, grumble, talk under one’s breath. After Moses brought Israel from the Red sea and they went out into the wilderness (God liberating them from Egypt) Israel complained about what to drink and about what to eat. Instead of focusing on the incredible works that God had done to save them they lusted after evil things and evil pleasures which resulted in idolatry, fornication, tempting God and murmuring against God. Israel also complained about their leaders and ultimately God’s plan for their lives. All of this complaining displeased the Lord, but the Lord was both extremely gracious to Israel when they complained and at other times He exercised judgement on them. We are to “take heed” lest we fall into the same errors.
    1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Exodus 15:24; 16:2-3; 7-12; 17:3; Psalm 78:17-25; Numbers 11:1; 14:2, 27, 29, 36; 16:1-3, 41; 17:5
  • We are to be busy shining as lights in the world, not complaining like the heathen. As we work out our own salvation, we are to learn to do all things without murmurings and disputings—arguing, debating, quarreling. All such complaining comes from resentment, negativism, dissatisfaction, discontent, displeasure, unhappiness, bitterness or selfishness. We overcome these issues because we know that God is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Thus as we change our conversation from “complaining” to “thanksgiving” we become very distinct from the crooked and perverse world and culture around us. We become “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke”—meaning our manner of speech becomes free from evil connotations.
    Philippians 2:14-16; James 3:1-12

Review Questions

  • Thanksgiving is the expression of what?
  • Thanksgiving should be a natural result of what?
  • When should we give God thanks?
  • What example of complaining was written for us to learn from? 
  • We should learn to do all things without what? But with what?

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