Col. 3:17 Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I hope you had the opportunity this last weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends giving thanks to God for all He has done for us. This week I want to share a powerful truth about gratitude and what it biblically means to give thanks to God. So let’s take a look at scripture and see what the Word of God reveals to us about gratitude.
Our foundation verse is the best scripture in the Bible that reveals the heart of thanksgiving and what it actually means. The apostle Paul tells us here that in everything we both say and do we are to do so in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through Him. The word “through” in this verse is actually defined as “because of”. We give thanks to God because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.
I want to turn your attention to the words “giving thanks”. This phrase actually means to be grateful, agree with, and say the same thing. When you look up the definition of what grateful means it comes from two words. When you understand these meanings it will become quite clear through this verse in Colossians what is being said about giving thanks. The first part of the word grateful – “grate” refers to a structure or frame with bars that run parallel. This is a reference to being in agreement with, or going the same direction as.
Now look back to Colossians 3:17 and notice it says that whatever we say or do it should all be done giving thanks to God. When you are giving thanks to God you are doing or saying things in the name of the Lord Jesus, Who is the Word of God. You are aligning your words and actions with God. You are going the same direction as He says to go. Simply put, giving thanks to God means that whatever we say or do it is in agreement with, and going the same way as God. One who lives a life of gratitude is living a life filled with words that speak what God speaks, and actions that follow God’s Word as well.
When you think about one of the greatest compliments a child can give a parent as they get older, it is a great compliment to that parent when they walk in agreement with what they have been taught or shown. You might remember a common phrase used, “He or she is a chip off the old block”. Scripture even teaches that if a child is trained up in the ways of God when they get older they will not depart from that training. This term for train is like putting a permanent crease in a pair of pants. No matter how old those pants get, that crease is there. When we allow God to crease our life, which impacts both what we say and what we do, it will stick with us.
1 Th. 5:18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
Here is where the power of thanksgiving comes into play. If you want to experience God’s will for your life we know it takes walking by faith. To walk by faith you must believe in your heart what God has said, you must speak it with your mouth, and you must act upon what you have believed. When you live a life of thanksgiving you are walking by faith and not by sight. No matter what the circumstances may say or be, you keep saying what God says, and you keep doing what God has said. Those circumstances don’t change what you say or do. Living a life of thanksgiving is living by faith.
Scripture reveals to us the importance of our words and actions in many places. James chapter three talks all about the tongue and the fact that our words are like a rudder on a ship that determines where that ship will land. They are like the bridle in the horse’s mouth that will turn that animal whichever direction you want to go. When we declare who God says we are, what He has said we have, and what He said we can do, we are on the pathway to reaching His destination for us.
Our actions are also important when it comes to seeing God’s will fulfilled in our lives. James addresses this issue as well in the second chapter of the book of James. He tells us that faith without works (corresponding action) is dead. The Amplified tells us that it is devoid of power. Faith is not truly faith without actions that follow. In life we are going to face storms for even Jesus told us we would. As a believer the difference for us is we have the ability to get through the storms of life and come out victorious. So it is speaking in line with God’s Word, and acting in line with God’s Word that we see His will manifested.
Psa. 107:1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Psa. 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
Remember we speak in line with God’s Word declaring what God says because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. This is seen here in this Psalm, which tells us to give thanks to the Lord for He is good. The redeemed of the Lord are to “say so”, whom the Lord has redeemed from the hand of the enemy. How do we give thanks, by speaking and acting in agreement with God. The redeemed of the Lord must say or declare their redemption for it to come to pass. You must know what you are redeemed from and declare your redemption.
Something very important to point out here, don’t think that if you simply say something long enough it will then eventually come to pass. Those who put their faith in their confession do not consistently speak in agreement with God. After a while they grow weary in well doing and lose heart. It is not faith in your confession that brings God’s will to pass, but faith in God and what He has said. But for faith to come we must see ourselves as already healed, delivered, and set free. For that to happen you must say what God says. You won’t see it if you don’t consistently speak it for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This is why living a life of gratitude is so important if you want to obtain God’s will for you life.
Is. 29:13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],
The core issue of living with gratitude for God has to do with what we have our hearts set on. Giving lip service to God but not having a heart set on Him will only lead to a life of disobedience to the Word. We are not just to speak the Word over and over without fully understanding what it actually says. When your heart is set on God you are not trying to say what God says just to get something you want in life. Those who consistently speak and act in agreement with God are those who are trusting in the Lord with all their hearts. They are aware of what God has done for them and count it a joy to serve and follow after Him. What they are now saying and doing is in response to what He has done for them.
Prov. 3:5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
Prov. 3:6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
Prov. 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.
Prov. 3:8 It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.
If we lean on and trust in the Lord with all our heart, we are going to lean on Him and His Word. We are not going to go through life trying to do things our way, we are going to have an awareness of God in our life, recognize what He has said about whatever we are doing, and we will then acknowledge Him. One who acknowledges God in all their ways is someone who is giving thanks. Their words and actions are agreeing with God. They will do this in every area of their life as they continue to grow and gain insight through Him.
If someone is wise in their own eyes, they are not walking in a reverential fear for the Lord, worshipping Him. The term worship refers to a heart surrendered to God. It means to bow down to. When we do this in our walk with God we are only looking to Him for the guidance, wisdom, and insight we need in life. Our focus is to pattern our life after Him. Our pursuits in life have become God’s pursuits. Our desires are His desires. This will lead to a life blessed with health and well-being. This again does not mean we won’t face trials in life, but we will not stop speaking and acting in line with God.
One of the greatest things we can do with our life after receiving what Christ has done for us is to live our lives in gratitude to Him. Take time to reflect from the Word of God what all God has done for us through Christ Jesus. Make sure your heart is completely set on Him. Then consistently yield your tongue and your actions to come into agreement with God. Doing so is living a life of gratitude.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker