by Steve Foster
My back hurts. The house is a mess. The car won’t start. My kids are always fighting. My spouse isn’t meeting my needs. My job is too stressful. My computer is too slow. My bills are too high. My income is too low. The weather is too hot. The government is too corrupt. The traffic is too crazy. Life is too unfair.
And the list goes on…
As humans, we are natural born complainers. And living in a sin-corrupted world, we have plenty of things to murmur and gripe about.
But as saints, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, we are called to a life of thanksgiving.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Think about it. Paul sums up the will of God for Christians as living in joyful daily dependence on Him with a heart of gratitude.
It sounds nice but often seems so impossible. When the pressures of life increase, when unexpected problems hit, when relationships go sour, the last thing on our minds is thanksgiving. Complaining seems so much better, doesn’t it?
But God knows that the murmuring heart soon becomes the bitter, cynical, joyless heart. That is why He commands us to, “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God,” Ephesians 5:18b-21.
When we yield to the Spirit and allow Him to control us, He puts a song of praise in our hearts that overflows in a life of thanksgiving and submission.
In other words, thanksgiving is not just a nice thought. It is not just a day on the calendar. It is not just a verbal response to someone who gives you your food at the drive-through.
Thanksgiving is the very life breath of the believer in Christ.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – Colossians 3:17
Did you catch that? Everything we do and say is to be infused with tha