Summary: Thankfulness is far more important to your experience of life than most people realize; it will revolutionize your relationship with God.
1. A thankful heart is far more important to your experience of life than most people realize. Most folks know they should be thankful, but do not put a premium on proactively cultivating a thankful heart.
2. Psalm 50:5 says, “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Verses 14–15 say, “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High. And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
3. The Bible is a description of our covenant with God. It reveals to us God’s obligations under that covenant and our obligations under that covenant. If you want the covenant to work for you, it begins by you upholding your part of the covenant. Psalm 50 shows us that we activate our covenant by paying our vows and giving thanks to Him; then He can deliver us in the day of trouble.
4. When we make a mistake, we confess it, put it under the blood, and keep doing the best we can to base our lives on His Word. That’s paying our vows. To do this, you have to become a thankful person, or this verse implies you can’t call on Him in the day of trouble and expect deliverance. Having a thankful heart is basic to the operation of your covenant with God.
5. Psalm 95:2 says, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving.” Experiencing the presence of God requires that you be a thankful person. We see it again in Psalm 100:4. “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving.”
6. Second Corinthians 4:15 says, “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” Unless we become a people with a thankful heart, it’s not likely we’re going to see any corporate manifestations of His glory. It is the atmosphere of thanksgiving that sets the stage for the glory of God.
7. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” For you to have answered prayer, you need to pray out of a heart of thanksgiving. Many Christians pray out of a heart of desperation instead of a grateful heart.
8. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” If you want to pray effectively, you’re going to have to cultivate a thankful heart.
9. Colossians 2:7 says, “...rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” You don’t need a thankful heart to come to a place of faith, because we know from the Word that faith comes by hearing and hearing. As you focus your attention on the Word, faith will come. For you to be rooted and established in faith and not waver every time a little adversity comes requires a thankful heart. Thanksgiving doesn’t open the door to faith; it is what grounds you in your faith.
10. An unthankful heart will produce negative issues in your life. Romans 1:21 says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” If you’re not thankful to God for what happens in your life, who takes the credit? You do! You become puffed up, arrogant, and vain. You become stuck on yourself. That kind of focus will darken your heart, create a foolish heart, and keep your attention on things you have done and achieved.
11. Verses 24 and 26–27 say, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Who did He give up to their vile affections? Believers who weren’t thankful to Him and became vain in their imagination and whose foolish heart was darkened. Continue reading in the chapter and you’ll see a litany of negative issues that emanate from an unthankful heart.
12. How do we get thankful? It’s a matter of focus and what you give your attention to. When you are attentive to the negative, you will not be thankful. When you are attentive to the positive—and give the glory to God—you will be thankful.
13. “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:11–14, 17–18 KJV)