I can tell who is filled with the Spirit and who is not by the amount of thanks they express. Are you a thankful person; do you say thanks for your spouse, kids and church? OK, that was easy – what about for your elders, political leaders, income, police, and work?
A little tougher, are you thankful for your circumstances, trials, health, age, appearance, general well-being, difficulties, and crisis?
If you are filled with the Spirit, you WILL express thanks OFTEN. According to Ephesians 5:20, thankfulness is one of the FRUITS of being filled with the Spirit: always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
What is thanks? One writer says thankfulness is the grateful acknowledgement of benefits received, and once you understand that, you quickly discern WHY there are so few thankful people. WHY?
To give thanks means…
One – you do not take CREDIT. You have to admit that the blessings you enjoy were GIVEN to you. You didn’t pick that spouse, raise those kids, buy that home, attend this church, get that job…YOU DIDN’T PICK IT, God gave it to you.
You say, I work hard to get my pay – yes, but WHO gave you the ability to work hard, the health, stamina and desire – GOD DID!
True thankfulness acknowledges that God has given you ALL you’ve received, therefore you don’t take credit.
Want to grow in gratitude? Every day recognize just how dependent you are for everything; don’t take credit but give credit to your creator, sustainer and redeemer.
Two – Being thankful means you believe your life is BETTER than you deserve. You’re totally unworthy of the blessings you’ve received.
True believers know because of their sin, they deserve punishment now, and God would be right to toss them into Hell forever. And every single day they recognize that Christ delivered them from that horrible fate; therefore, believers are THANKFUL.
Only those who recognize we don’t deserve all the blessings we’ve been given; only those who remember that any day we are not in Hell is a pretty good day – are those who are thankful.
Three – Thankfulness is also the result of recognizing that you have been given MORE than you deserve.
Thankful people are those who see God’s blessing in many different ways. Beyond their marriage, or family or material possessions, they are thankful for peace, love and joy. They are thankful for purpose and a passion to pursue. They are thankful for intimacy with God, for trials that change us, for pains that make us dependent, for hurts that make us tender. They see a loving heavenly father blessing them with a thousand small things every single day.
Four – Thankfulness grows with the INCREASE of awareness. Thankfulness intensifies as you realize the depth of your sinfulness.
Self-righteous people are not loving, nor thankful. People who see the increasing depth of their sinfulness are the most thankful for God’s forgiveness
Luke 7:47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
The most loving and thankful people are those who realize just how sinful, how needy, how desperate they were and still are for God’s grace
HOW THANKFUL ARE YOU?