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How many of us would live with thanksgiving to worship Him every day, every moment to Him, our Lord Jesus Christ? Be thankful, give Him your worship! Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Often we find these words on FB or Instagram: not imprisoned, not in the hospital, not in the grave. Thank God for a new day. Can I get an amen, or like? It is true that we should give thanks to God if you are not in prison, not in the hospital and not in the grave. But what about those in prison, or the ones in the hospital right now, or the ones which have passed away? Should they be ungrateful, or at least have the right to complain because their lives are not going the way it should be? For those imprisoned, we may think they are worth to be punished for their crimes, but do you know that there are many who are imprisoned for injustice, many are jailed because of the truth. They just experience such an unfortunate life. And for those in the hospital, they are in pain. Something unpleasant, luckily I do not experience it! You would say so. For those who are buried, obviously, they have died so they will say no more. But if we would not experience all of this, just we can be grateful?
The things above are actually showing the lack of our understanding of God. If we thank Him merely for these things, we do not know Him at all. Our spirituality is shallow or closed minded, it would touch only the surface of all His real goodness. Even these things show our selfishness, our evil hearts. Yes, many of us are only grateful when we get profit, not loss. We are glad because we get something. Otherwise, it is impossible for us to be happy! Moreover, when we are grateful, the gratitude we offer is not to God many times. But more to self-worship. Because when we experiencing good things, we start busy showing off all those things on FB, Instagram, Path and all kinds of social media platforms. Instead of praying and thanking God, we exhibit everything that makes us happy into a show with even spiritual words and all kinds of Bible verses supporting our so-called thanksgiving. We lose the sense of humility and empathy for the poor and provoke the unnecessary envy of others. Then we would turn into anger to what we call haters just because they give us a bad comment to our post. That is not a grateful lifestyle of what God intends us to enjoy when He blesses us.
In this world, there is a lot of injustice. Many misfortune, many distress, and many disasters. A tragic and unlucky life has filled the story of life on earth far more than the opposite. Drama and movies sell better if the story is sad. Although happy-ending may still be much desired, the film’s story is more memorable if its core is full of tears. Why? Because our souls are very familiar with such things. There are deep sorrow and old dry wounds in our souls. Hence success is often a very desirable thing, much coveted. They have become substitutes to the ruined life. Everyone wants to be successful, want to be on top. If they do not achieve this, they are not satisfied and will never quit. Yeah, at least the world’s problems have motivated many to be better. But it also shows that many of us never feel grateful for everyday life that we pass. We only focus on tomorrow where we will succeed. That is why many of us fall sick and die due to the stress and pressure for we have not achieved what we want to.
The same thing has also entered the church: blessing and success are used as a spiritual measure of a person. Erroneous and unbalanced teaching centered on the prosperity theology and born precisely from an ungrateful heart. If we understand properly that God Himself is our reward and portion: His person, His love and presence, not the blessing of material and prosperity of the world .. we are in fact successful already. Only then can we see clearly that the material blessings and prosperity of the world are the same tests from the opposite side of poverty and hardship.
So why should we live with thanksgiving always? Every day, every moment?
The first thing we must understand clearly is that our life has been redeemed on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified to death for our sins and our iniquity. From the cross, we have our redemption and forgiveness of sins. The Lamb of God has been slain since the foundation of the world, our lives have been reconciled to the Father in Heaven. The main issue of life was sin and transgression. This is the main cause of all distress and disaster in this world. It might be true that many disasters happen not because of human sin directly, but we all understand that if we all from the time of Adam and Eve were living rightfully, then it is impossible to experience all these troublesome things. At least we would still live in the Garden of Eden. But to the fact that all these things have been happening to us, the story of the Garden of Eden is now even regarded as a mere legend due to the fact that it has been so long we do not enjoy the good life. All our efforts to overcome this pain can never be successful by our own efforts. Sin has sold us out to a different Master from the true owner of our life. We need a Redeemer who is willing to die for our behalf even though we are unworthy. If you are worthy, a lot of people want to be a hero for you. But we also know that our worth is only judged according to our money and wealth, isn’t it? So what about us who have no money nor wealth? Is there anyone will helps us? There is and His name is Jesus.
Jesus came down to this world, born as a human with one primary goal: the Cross. Because only through the Cross, He will uphold God’s justice of sin to be punished and reveal God’s love for humanity to redeem. If you repent and turn to Him, belief in Him as your Lord and Savior, your life is saved. For on the Cross everything is finished. Whatever our struggles either the past, the present, and the future have all been done by Jesus on the Cross.
Think about it, if He did not die as an offering sacrifice for us .. we will still continue to seek for salvation as long as we live. So no matter what we do, no matter how we achieve success in life, we know in the end we are still lost and everything we achieve will be in vain! Moreover, if the life we are passing by is full of trouble and destruction, how can we be grateful if we know that in the end also everything will perish? Or if we do have it all, will this all help us at the end of our lives: the time of death, when we know that we must perish. But because He died on the cross and rose on the third day, we know now that we are saved. Saved from the wrath of God over sin, saved from eternal destruction. So what He has done on the Cross is enough for us. Enough to save us from eternal destruction, even if He would not help us anymore afterward. So as in Psalm 103:2-3, He who forgives all your sins! Yes, do not forget His benefits, His blessings. And the first of all His blessings is NOT because you are not imprisoned, nor in hospital and you are not dead! But because all your sins, transgressions, iniquities, errors, ALL have been forgiven. He nailed His own Son on the cross instead of you! You MUST be thankful for that at ALL the times to the rest of your life!! That is God is GOOD!
So whether we are successful or not, our lives have been saved into eternity. We should be grateful for this. Always, every day and every moment. No matter how difficult we are today, we will never have enough excuses or reasons that justify us to NOT thank Him all the time. What else do we need? Isn’t our main issue settled on the cross? If you have absolutely no reason to raise thanksgiving, remember what He has done for you on the cross. That is the main reason and the only reason why we should give thanks to Him, Jesus our Lord. Be thankful to Him, give Him your worship!
The second reason why we should thank Him always, every day and every moment is this: Thanksgiving is the sign and proof of our faith in Him. Many are trying to live the life of God but fail to have faith in Him over all situations. We think by giving money and treasure, with charity and donation we can buy our salvation, buy our blessings and luck. We think we’ve pleased Him. Did you know that this mentality comes from the mentality that use to bribe? We also think we can please Him by being active in ministry in the church. Whereas if we are honest, what we do in church is mostly to please our pastor. Not God. We are even stuck with the thought that if we have done all that God is happy. While the Bible never speaks of serving God in the form of actively serving in the church. One thing is clear though, the Bible says without faith it is impossible for people to please God. Hebrews 11:6. The word to please God has a simple meaning, He becomes happy to us. How? By faith. And a grateful heart is always a heart that believes He is in control of everything! A heart that believes in Him. Not merely words that come out from a mouth, for many people know how to praise God and speak much of Him as if He were present a lot in their lives. But truly their hearts are far away from Him!
Faith is the evidence of what our spiritual eyes would see clearly even though our physical eyes can not see it at all. And this will be clearly visible from our behavior. Everyone can praise God with their mouths, but no one can lie to him through his daily behavior. And a man who always full of joy, who continues to pray, and knows to give thanks over all things: will express their faith clearly in their lives.
If you have faith, is not God happy with you? And if He is pleased, will not He as a good Father help His children? A grateful heart is not only a heart that pleases Him, but it is a heart that brings miracles. The heart that does the breakthrough we need. The key is not on far away things, the key is your heart attitude. Will we want to be God’s people who are full of complaints in all things? He is the Lord who tests our hearts at all the time, so do not be like the people of Israel who always complain. Being thankful brings healing to our bones and body. For being thankful cannot be born from a bitterness heart, isn’t joy what heals the body? Being thankful brings deliverance because those who are grateful to understand exactly that regardless of their situation, God is still in control. His Sovereignty is absolute and His power will not diminish simply because of the unfavorable situation we face. Being thankful gives enlargement to the heart because all who are grateful agree to what God permits in their lives. Having a big heart physically will make a person’s body stronger because a large heart produces more fresh new blood. And even more so spiritually. Those who know to be thankful will always bring Heaven down into their lives. Being thankful shows that their faith is not small against the storms of life that are hitting them.
Be thankful, give Him your worship!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.