The Hinge of Thankfulness….
I love being thankful!
I wrote how thankfulness changed my life a couple of years ago. (link at bottom) That writing has become one of my favorites, for it is truly my heart to be thankful, and when I purposed in my heart to live more thankful, it really did change my life!
I didn’t always live with thankfulness at the forefront of my life. I remember always being thankful, but I don’t remember always activating my thankfulness. There is a difference.
Thankfulness is a choice and when you make that choice consistently, it becomes a lifestyle. And let me tell you, I am so much happier living a lifestyle of thankfulness!
There are so many benefits to being thankful. Just one example is: when you are truly thankful for your job, even when things go wrong, or someone rubs you the wrong way, frustration has a hard time taking root, because your heart is so full of thanksgiving and focused on the blessing of your job, that a bad day just becomes a bump in the road.
Pastor Dave has said something he learned from his pastor many times. He says “Thank God things are as good as they are and getting better every day!” What an attitude! Thankfulness also fosters faith! When you are thankful for what you have, it is easy to believe good things, even better things, are coming. The beautiful part is, even if they take awhile to improve, waiting won’t bother you like it used to because you are content where you are.
See, thankfulness fosters contentment. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13 – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” NIV The word content in verse 12 means “independent of external circumstances” – in other words, in spite of what is going on around us.
I have said this before, If Jesus never does another thing for me, His sacrifice on the cross was enough! Everything else is a bonus!
I have found taking the attitude of being thankful, of being content in what Jesus has already done for me, has taken much stress off my life as well. I do not feel compelled to wrestle with situations and force an outcome because I know that not only is it possible to be content, but that I CAN be content and remain thankful through every situation because I have complete faith and trust in my God.
Thankfulness fosters joy. Do you know how much better your mood and outlook is when you are thankful? It changes the way you perceive and look at everything. If I can be thankful for where I am right now, today, then I can be thankful for what I am believing for, until it comes! How? The same God who gives me strength to rest in today, is the same God that gives me confidence to trust Him for my future, for my family, for my health and every promise in the word of God that I have declared as my own.
Thankfulness fosters peace. Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
The word careful means troubles, anxious, and the word supplication means asking. Paul is telling us – don’t worry, pray and ask with thankfulness, have thankfulness in your heart when you pray to God. The Passion Translation says “with overflowing gratitude” – I love that. When we do this, do you know what follows? Verse 7 says ” then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” THEN – meaning AFTER you pray with thankfulness.
Let me tell you, there is nothing better than being in a situation that makes no sense, but the peace of God is carrying you through. The word says it will even guard our heart and mind! The Passion Translation says the peace of God that transcends human understanding will make answers known to you through Jesus Christ. Wow, how awesome is that? Peace that guards and informs us in His understanding and ways.
But, let me share with you another meaning of the word guard from the Strong’s Concordance. Are you ready? To guard, protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight! Friends, this covers our protection, even militant protection! Think of having armed guards outside your home while you sleep – that kind of protection in the spirit!
Peace, Joy, and Contentment, all hinge on thankfulness!
(The purpose of a hinge is to open doors, but I will save that for another article.)
Still in Philippians 4, the very next verse then show us our part in maintaining the peace – Think on GOOD things! Phil. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
The Passion Translation says – “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. 9 Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.”
God has thought of everything. Even when we are purposing to live thankful, the world we live in can often bombard us with ugly, depressing and evil things, and while we need to be informed, we cannot allow it to dictate our feelings, lives or thoughts! So what do we do? His higher ways, His instructions say to think on good things, lovely things. Notice as we do, the God of peace will be with us in ALL things.
Sometimes, when I get bad news or hear something depressing, I begin to rehearse the victories of the Lord in my life. After a few minutes of this my faith is stirred, and the enemy has fled because it is nothing he wants to be reminded of.
I remember one night several years ago, I was with three friends and we were staying in a bed and breakfast old farmhouse built in the 1800’s. It was in the middle of nowhere and very dark and secluded. We began to notice we were not alone, as there were unexplainable weird things happening that were not of human origination. After praying and pleading the blood of Jesus over us, I said, let’s rehearse the victories of the Lord in our lives. Do you know that the atmosphere began to change and we were able to sleep and get through the night! What were we doing? BEING THANKFUL for what the Lord has done for us, and guess what? His peace, the militant peace that guards showed up! He is faithful!
So, I get that November is a month where even secular people will focus on being thankful. That’s good. But, as believers and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, we have every reason to live this way every single day, regardless of circumstances, because greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world!
What if more believers began to practice, on purpose, living a thankful life every day? Would that not show a difference in our lives to the world around us? Would that not set us apart? Would that not show others the goodness of God? And remember, it is the goodness of God that draws men to repentance. (Romans 4:2 TPT “Do you realize that all the wealth of his extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you into repentance?”) Extravagant kindness…is that not attractive? Yes!
Thankfulness is attractive. Joy, peace, and kindness is attractive, especially in the times we live in. Without Jesus, no one has any true peace, joy or contentment. What a witness we can have just by living thankful.
I challenge you to start today and practice being thankful. It will start out as practice and being purposeful, but as you make this a priority daily, pretty soon, it will become natural in your walk and you will notice quickly when you have stepped out of this mindset. The beautiful thing is, it is very easy to correct and step back into. We often make things harder than they really are. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden light. It truly is. Start with being thankful and watch joy, peace and kindness increase….watch faith arise!
I hope this sparks a hunger and desire to submit yourself to a greater degree of thankfulness in your life. I hope all the things you are thankful for are crossing your mind right now. I hope you grow in thankfulness and know that as you do, peace, joy and kindness will follow. What an awesome way to serve our Lord! What a great day to be alive. I am truly thankful! Selah!
(Being Thankful Will Change Your Life)