Summary: That is the basis of thankfulness - to remember that we got here with the help of God, & that He is the provider of every blessing we have.
Intro: Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, "Why is that there?" Alex Haley answered, "Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post & remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help."
That is the basis of thankfulness - to remember that we got here with the help of God, & that He is the provider of every blessing we have. SOURCE: Melvin Newland, Minister, Central Christian Church, Brownsville, TX.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Why is it God’s will for us to give thanks? Because it our attitude toward our daily life that makes us miserable or marvelous. It is how we look at the day that determines whether it is ministry or misery. We determine with our attitude whether what we face each morning is a blessing or a burden.
Adrian Rogers clearly communicated that there are four levels of living
1) People in the lowest level constantly complain. These folks are always griping and complaining. Rather than being humbly grateful, they’re grumbly hateful.
2) The second level is just a tad higher. These are not people who are constantly complaining; they just never give thanks for anything. They take things for granted.
3) The third level are those who thank God for the obvious blessings, when things are going good and everything is fine.
4) But the fourth level, the highest level, are those who give thanks always for all things. This is the attitude that will change your life.
God designed us to live on the highest level. One of His greatest gifts to us is choice. We can choose which level we live on.
I. Gratitude is an attitude missing in the lost
Romans 1:21 “For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.”
A sure road to stinking thinking is a lack of gratitude toward God. It is when we live in grumbling like the children of Israel that we invite disaster. We begin to think wrong about everything. We think wrong about our money, about our decisions, relationships and especially we think wrong about God. What we think about God affects everything we do.
Mumbling and grumbling is inappropriate use of the breath God gave us.
Benjamin Franklin said, “The sentence which has most influenced my life is, ‘Some people grumble because God placed thorns among roses. Why not thank God because He placed roses among thorns?’
II. Gratitude is an antidote for deceitful emotions
Ephesians 4.23 tells us that we were taught to have a new attitude then goes on to tell us to get rid of bitterness, hot tempers, anger, Ephesians 5:18-20 tells us that one of the ways that we know that we are filled with the Spirit is to thank God the father for everything in the name of Jesus.
Philippians 4.6 tells us that an antidote to our anxiety is giving thanks to God!
The Holy Spirit enables us to live above what we feel. God never tells us to feel grateful. Instead he commands us to be grateful.
Ephesians 4:21-22 “You have certainly heard his message and have been taught his ways. The truth is in Jesus. You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you”
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks is in the present imperative calling us to ongoing action. It is also in the active voice which calls for personal choice. Regardless of how you feel if you are going to be thankful it will require a personal choice every moment!!
If you do not have gratitude in your daily life then it is an indication of serious spiritual illness. Gratitude is the loving response of a person experiencing God’s grace and blessings.
Gratitude is a choice. Paul is trying to tell us if we choose to be thankful then the way we feel will change. It is similar to husbands and wives. Sometimes we don’t feel in love. But if we do things that are loving then our feelings will change. Never forget feelings fool us that is why by faith we thank God!!!
There are all types of prescriptions for overwhelming emotions pills, counseling, etc. God gives His prescription of giving thanks in order to heal our overwhelming emotions.
III. Gratitude is an acknowledgement of God’s blessings