21/10/16‘By Him therefore let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name’ – Hebrews 13:15
Being thankful to God is supposed to be a lifestyle for God’s people. We are to thank God, not just once in a while when everything is working right, but continually. Constant thanksgiving is a sacrifice of praise to God.
When we thank God, it is of sweet aroma to Him. When we use our words, the fruit of our lips to appreciate God for all the wonderful and great benefits that we receive from Him on a daily basis, it blesses Him. And whenever we bless God, He always blesses us back many times more, because He will never let us out-give Him.
Thanksgiving is God’s will for all of us. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’. And Ephesians 5:20 instructs us to give ‘thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Giving thanks is not a special gift given to some few folks in the Church. All of God’s children are called to be thankful to God as a way of life. Which is the exact opposite of the constant griping, and cursing, and murmuring, and complaining that are considered normal in the world.
Remind yourself of God’s benefits
Now, someone might say that continuous thankfulness is not practical since there are times when there isn’t anything to thank God for. Well, that is not true. As a child of God, there are always reasons to give God thanks. Even in the midst of your darkest moments and toughest challenges, there will always be things to make you turn to God and say, ‘Father, thank you’. What you have to do is remind yourself of God’s benefits to you.
Psalm 103 is a great passage to use to remind yourself of God’s goodness. David, a man who was great in thanksgiving even in his worst of times, begins the Psalm by exhorting us to bless the Lord and never forget all His benefits:
‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits’ – Psalm 103:1-2
It is true that we all go through times when we just don’t feel like being thankful to God or anyone else for that matter. But as people of faith, we don’t do things because we feel so but because it is right.
At the time of writing Psalm 103, David didn’t seem to be in the mood of blessing God either, so he commanded his soul to rise up and do so anyway. When our emotions or circumstances go haywire and the last thing we want to do is thank anybody, we have to use our sanctified will and command ourselves to rise up and bless the Lord anyway. And a great help in doing that is to begin by reminding ourselves of God’s goodness and benefits toward us.
Years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that as a child of God, there are numerous good things happening in my life even in my worst and darkest times. When the devil, and everybody else is telling you that there is nothing good happening in your life; and that you are therefore justified to be negative, depressed, grumpy, bitter, hopeless, etc, if you will just ask the Holy Spirit, He will remind you of all the marvellous things that God will be doing right then in and to you, and you will find yourself bursting out in thanksgiving.
You are forgiven
As a child of God, you are forgiven of all your sins. That means you will never have to suffer the due penalty that your sins deserve. That is a benefit from God that is a constant in your life, in good as well as bad times. And what a huge benefit! The greatest need of any human being is to be forgiven by God; to be reconciled to God. What a blessing that because of what the Lord Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection, the child of God is no longer guilty nor condemned by God; that God is not their enemy anymore.
David tells us to remember this awesome benefit so we can keep blessing the Lord at all times: ‘Who forgiveth all thine iniquities’ – Psalm 103:3. And in verses 10 through to 12, we are assured of how the forgiveness of our sins is so total and complete that we never ever have to worry again that our sins might re-surface one day and be an issue between us and God:
‘He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us’.
To have your sins forgiven is such a huge blessing that it is reason enough to keep thanking God even if everything else seems not to be working. Think of it: you are not going to go to hell for your sins! Paul the apostle, quoting David, wrote in Romans 4:6-8
‘Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin’.
As a believer in Christ, not only are your past sins forgiven and forgotten by God, but even for your future sins, forgiveness has already been provided by the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s body. The Lord will not (future) impute your sins to you. That means He will not hold you accountable for your sins. What can beat that blessing? Sin will never ever again be a problem between you and God because you are in Christ. Is that not reason to thank God every day of your life?
Healing is available for you
On top of the eternal forgiveness you have in Christ, healing for your physical body, your emotions, your mind and all other aspects of your life, have been provided for as well through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Isaiah 53:4-5 makes it very clear that on the cross, Jesus died to provide forgiveness for our sins as well as healing for our diseases:
‘Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with his stripes we are healed’
In Psalm 103:3, David said one of the benefits from God we are to constantly remind ourselves of is that ‘he healeth all our diseases’. If you are sick physically or emotionally, there is healing available for you, and that is reason for you to be thankful to God. Acts 10:38 says that sickness and disease are oppressions of the devil, and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. If you are dealing with sickness, one of the most effective ways to receive your healing from God is to begin to thank God that by the stripes of Jesus, you have been healed; that healing is your inheritance in Christ. You will more easily receive your healing if you are thankful to God than if you go along the path of being worried, bitter with God, fearful, etc.
Someone might say, ‘Well, what about when a Christian dies of disease, should we thank God too, since God never healed them?’. First of all, it wouldn’t be true that God never healed them. When Jesus was beaten with stripes, He provided healing for everybody but not everyone receives their healing. Just like Jesus provided forgiveness of sins for everybody but not everybody gets saved because not everyone receives the forgiveness Jesus has availed freely.
But even when a believer falls asleep in death, we know that they go to spend eternity with God and Paul said in Philippians 1:23 that it is far better. It is a win. You see, a child of God never loses. In life or death, we have reasons to be thankful to God. Death is merely a transition to a higher life. In Christ, we are never hopeless. A child of God is always on top. The devil doesn’t like it when we have that kind of mind-set because then he realizes there is nothing he can do to put us down.
Redeemed from destruction
If you are alive today, I can guarantee you that God has saved you numerous times from destructions. The devil wants you dead, and that you are alive today is only because God has been protecting you from all kinds of maladies and traps that the devil set to get rid of you. Psalm 103:4 says that one of the benefits from God that we have to constantly remind ourselves is that God ‘redeemeth thy life from destruction’.
When I look back into my own life, I can identify more than 10 specific times when God delivered me from death. As a young boy, I was saved from drowning in our local village pond. At 12, I survived being hit by a speeding car by a whisker. I have been put at gun point by armed robbers. And so many other times when I should have died but God redeemed my life from destruction. I encourage you to take a moment, look into your past and you will see that you too have escaped death many times. That was God redeeming your life from destructions. And how can you still say you have no reasons to be thankful to God? Ecclesiastes 9:4 says, ‘… a living dog is better than a dead lion’. If you are alive today, you are blessed. There is hope for you yet to do and achieve great things in this life. Don’t ever allow yourself to even think of suicide because of some challenge that comes your way when God has redeemed your life from death so many times. You are still here because God has a purpose for you. Be thankful to God that you are alive.
You are loved
David wrote in Psalm 103:4 about God that He ‘crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies’. Friend, God loves you. And that alone is enough to keep you thankful to God for the rest of your life. The world is full of hurts and pains. It is amazing the hurtful things we humans do to one another. There are people who have known only rejection, and loneliness, and pain all their lives. Others have been hurt so bad they have vowed never to let anybody come close to them again. While others believe they are so terrible nobody can love them.
Well, there is good news: no matter how much you may have been hurt or how deep you have hurt others, God loves you. He is not angry with you. He is waiting to crown you with His loving kindness and tender mercies, if you will allow Him. God’s love accomplishes in our lives things that nothing else can. Jesus said He will never cast away or reject anyone who comes to Him. If you have been rejected a lot, Papa God will never reject you. Run into His arms and let Him love you to wholeness. If everybody calls you the scum of the earth, God calls you the apple of His eye. You mean the world to Jesus. Think of it: He died for you!
When you begin to receive the love of God for yourself, you cease caring anymore what people think or say about you. You know that you have worth and value. And you forgive everyone who ever hurt you, because you realize no person should ever continue occupying space in your emotions or mind when God has come into your life, with His love, and blessings, and hope for the future. You know that the Lord is your shepherd and His goodness will follow you all the days of your life. There is a future for you, regardless of who is not with or for you. With God for you, no one can successfully be against you.
Thankfulness benefits us
As you receive God’s love and grace every day, you will be thankful, continually offering the sacrifice of praise to God. Thankful people are happy. They are full of joy and hope. Thankful people look up and see stars even when they are standing in mud. Their minds are set on things above. They cast all their cares, and anxieties, and burdens upon God. Their lives are light.
Being thankful helps us. Everything God tells us to do is never for His benefit. God is self-sufficient and there is nothing we do that adds anything to Him. He instructs us to be thankful for our own good, because He loves us. As you choose thankfulness over complaining, murmuring, grumbling, bitterness, revenge, envy, self-pity, etc, your life will fly to new heights. The very first benefit is that you will begin to experience the peace of God; that peace that surpasses human understanding.
Thank God for God. Thank God for Jesus. Thank God for the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His Word. Thank God that you are born again, forgiven, a child of God. Thank God for the people in your life: your family, friends, neighbours, work mates. Thank God you are alive. Thank God for your health. Thank God for the food you eat daily, for the clothes you put on, for the roof over your head. Thank God for every material possession you have. Thank God for your country, for your government and leaders. Thank God for your pastors and spiritual mentors. Thank God for nature: for the air, for rain, for the sun, clouds, and flowers, and soil, and trees, for birds, and wild animals. Oh, how many things we have in and round us to thank God for. Be thankful and live!
Your friend in Christ