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What is Thanksgiving in the First Place?

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving (Col. 4:2 KJV)

The coming of Christ brought a paradigm shift in the worship of God. Thanksgiving is no longer one of the sacrifices that the priests in the  Old Testament offered. It is now a daily reality of the believer in Christ who is the true worshipper. A thankful spirit is so vital to a believer’s life that the scripture above says thanksgiving should accompany prayer. But what are the critical elements of thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is first and foremost a response to God’s goodness and an attitude  of gratitude towards Him. It is not a once in a while outburst of emotional thankfulness to God. It is a lifestyle, an attitude, a manner of life. It begins with the recognition of the benefits of God’s actions towards us. The Psalmist in Ps. 103:2 said: “ bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Thanksgiving begins with a recognition of the benefits we are enjoying because of God, whether in natural or spiritual blessings. 

The second key element in thanksgiving is appreciation which is seeing value in what God has done for us.  The Psalmist again said in  Ps 124:1-2 that if the LORD had not been on our side, men would have crushed us. This is seeing the value of what God has done. It requires humility. An ungrateful individual would say “even if you did not do it, I could have had it done anyway.” This is ingratitude fostered by arrogance. When we are humble, we see the value of what God has done in our lives. 

Then comes the crucial third element of thanksgiving which is the natural expression of the heartfelt recognition and appreciation of God’s actions towards us. This expression of our gratitude is often in our words such as “I thank you LORD” or in our actions.  Thanksgiving in the heart that is not expressed is dead. Your thanksgiving must have an expression, and the greatest expression is the words spoken from our hearts filled by the Spirit. Whenever you open your mouth and utter  the words “LORD, I thank you for…”, you reach and touch the Father’s heart in ways that many of us underestimate. Our words have the greatest intimate impact on God. 

MEDITATE

Can you see how recognition, appreciation, and expression of gratitude come together to give thanksgiving its place?  If not, please re-read the devotional above again.

APPLY THE WORD

Your heart and your mouth/actions will need to align with each other to give God a meaningful thanksgiving offering. Take a moment, ponder upon and recognize His goodness. See the value and impact it has made in your life. Give expression to that gratitude that fills your heart. This response is not meant exclusively for  Thanksgiving Day. It is intended to be your daily attitude and lifestyle!

PRAY

Thank the Lord right now for His marvelous kindness towards us. 

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