It’s THANKSGIVING and that means Christians everywhere will be expressing their gratitude to God and thanking him for his blessings. That’s great! But God wants us to think of Thanksgiving as more than an OBLIGATION to fulfill. You know: “God is so good to me I must show my gratitude.”
Make no mistake–all of that is EXACTLY right! But God does not want us to stop there by thinking we have “said thank you and paid that debt.”
He wants us to acknowledge the connection between Thanksgiving and JOY by PRAISING him and focusing on his GLORY.
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2
Our thankfulness to God allows us to rejoice in all he has done in our life. That, clearly, is an important part of the gratitude Christians must express at Thanksgiving. But it is not the ONLY joy and it’s not the greatest joy.
The GREATEST JOY is praising the God of Heaven and earth for WHO HE IS.
“I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.” Psalm 35:18
We need to embrace the distinction between thanksgiving and praise:
Thanksgiving revolves around all that God has done in our life.
Praise focuses on who God is and how that makes it possible for us to live with joy.
God’s plea for us to give THANKS is so much more than acknowledging what he has done for us. It is a call to REJOICE in who he is.
We do this by asking the Holy Spirit to help us see and feel God’s glory. We reflect on the incredible gifts of health, family, and provision that God has given us. And we focus on the mercy of God behind those gifts and how we do not deserve them.
That last point must be emphasized. We do not deserve these gifts. In fact, because of our sin, we deserve God’s judgment. When we acknowledge that truth–bought by the blood of Jesus–we are infused with God’s JOY and that leads us to give him the glory and praise his name.
I give thanks to God for all he has done for me in my life. I praise him for who he is. And I commit to be full of his joy and give him 100% of the glory.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Will you thank God for what he has done for you this Thanksgiving? Will you praise him for who he is? Will you be infused with his joy and give him all the glory?
“Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.” Psalm 97:12