Growing up with the “Me Generation,” I have heard many messages from our society and the media about what I deserve. If I turned on the TV, one commercial would tell me, “Have you had your break today?” and to come in and get a “Happy Meal.” If I changed the channel, there would be a pushy salesman telling me that I’ve “earned” a new car. Come on down today and pick out the new car that I deserve. And the messages go on and on and on…
If we are not careful, we can fall prey to this entitlement mentality – to believe that somehow we are “owed,” and that we “deserve” ease and wealth just because we exist.
The Word of God is the truth that counteracts these deceptive messages. The Gospel tells us this: though we bear God’s image and likeness, we humans are sinful (self-centered, self-seeking, and rebellious) creatures that deserve death, hell, and eternal separation from God. Simply being born and learning to survive in this world does not earn us any credit or a favorable position with a holy God. But Jesus’ selfless sacrifice on the cross in our place purchased our redemption and salvation. And by grace through faith, we are not only released from the fate of hell, we are brought into relationship with God and inherit the glories of heaven.
Because of this salvation, Christians can live lives of thanksgiving. Jesus said in John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
What a gift! Instead of the penalty we deserve, God offers us eternal life and full restoration of a relationship with Him. This fact alone, should create a heart full of thankfulness.
Ephesians 5:20 says, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our daily attitude should be to give thanks in all things. That is the charge and call. We need to be thankful for all the blessings and even the trials that come our way. Why? Because, as Christians, we know that, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Colossians 3:15 reads, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
Our thankful heart can be a glowing example to others of how the Gospel has changed us. A true spirit of thankfulness is not a common attitude in our culture. True thankfulness is counter-cultural. It is a characteristic that sets us apart to the glory of Christ.
Hebrews 12:28 reads, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
Our secure, eternal future should cause us to be thankful every moment of every day. When we know that our eternal life is secure, and that God loves us and is in sovereign control over our lives, then our only appropriate response is a thankful heart. Ask God today to create a thankful heart in you.