Summary: A thankful heart experiences the peace of God.
Overcoming Worry With Thanksgiving
Worry is the absence of peace in the life of a believer. God desires that we trust Him, not worry. And I have found that when I trust Him, there’s no need to worry. I experience His peace, the peace that passes all understanding.
If I do not have peace in my heart, I grieve the Lord and fellow believers. I become self-conscious, shy, guilty, discouraged, and defeated. This leads me into a critical, murmuring, grumbling, and divisive spirit. This downward spiral then entices me to slip back into sin.
Once the peace of God has been removed from my life, I become restless. This restlessness drives me into being a troublemaker or else into despair and defeat. I feel unworthy and unable to walk victoriously with God.
What I must realize is that worry and thankfulness cannot co-exist in the same heart. If I am truly thankful for what God has done, then I will not have to worry. The absence of worry, then, is peace. Therefore, if I am to experience the peace of God in my life, I must be a thankful believer. (Source unknown)
Illustration: An Average Person’s Anxiety Is Focused On…
· 40%—things that will never happen
· 30%—things about the past that can’t be changed
· 12%—things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
· 10%—about health, which gets worse with stress
· 8%—about real problems that will be faced
Illustration: What Does Worry Do?
What does your anxiety do? It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty today of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. God gives us the power to bear all the sorrow of His making, but He does not guarantee to give us strength to bear the burdens of our own making such as worry induces. (Ian MacLaren. http://www.bible.org.)
I. THANKFULNESS PRODUCES CONTINUOUS REJOICING. Philippians 4:4
Note: Paul is in prison, and yet he is telling the Philippian believers that they should always be rejoicing. They are to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what the circumstances.
A. When We Are Thankful We Can Rejoice In The Daily Benefits Of God. Psalms 68:19
Illustration: Wonderful Burden
One morning R. C. Chapman, a devout Christian, was asked how he was feeling. “I’m burdened this morning!” was his reply. But his happy countenance contradicted his words.
So the questioner exclaimed in surprise, “Are you really burdened, Mr. Chapman?”
“Yes, but it’s a wonderful burden—it’s an overabundance of blessings for which I cannot find enough time or words to express my gratitude!”
Seeing the puzzled look on the face of his friend, Chapman added with a smile, “I am referring to Psalm 68:19, which fully describes my condition. In that verse the Father in heaven reminds us that He ‘daily loads us with benefits.’”
F. E. Marsh has enumerated some of these blessings:
· An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6).
· An inheritance that can never be lost (1 Peter 1:3-5).
· A deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Corinthians l:10).
· A grace that can never be limited (2 Corinthians 12:9).
· A hope that can never be disappointed. (Hebrews 6:18, 19).
· A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).
· A joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11).
· A nearness to God that can never be reversed (Ephesians 2:13).
· A peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27).
· A righteousness that can never be tarnished (2 Corinthians 5:21).
· A salvation that can never be canceled (Hebrews 5:9).
B. When We Are Thankful We Can Rejoice Because We Find Patience To Endure Trials. James 1:2-4
Illustration: The Doughnut
As a minister was addressing a group of men, he took a large piece of paper and made a black dot in the center of it with a marking pen. Then he held the paper up before the group and asked them what they saw. One person quickly replied, “I see a black mark.”
“Right,” the preacher replied. “What else do you see?”
Complete silence prevailed. “Don’t you see anything other than the dot?” he asked.
A chorus of no’s came from the audience.
“I’m really surprised,” the speaker commented. “You have completely overlooked the most important thing of all—the sheet of paper.”
Then he made the application. He said that in life we are often distracted by small, dot-like disappointments or painful experiences, and we are prone to forget the innumerable blessings we receive from the hand of the Lord. But like the sheet of paper, the good things are far more important than the adversities that monopolize our attention.
This reminds me of a bit of verse which, though I admit is somewhat trite, does express good practical advice. Someone has written: “As you travel down life’s pathway, may this ever be your goal:/ Keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole!”