Giving thanks is more than a season, it’s an attitude.
- Life is hard.
- Life at times can be disappointing.
- Life can be unfair.
But those moments don’t last forever unless we choose to center our lives around that one thing.
Developing the discipline of giving thanks will take disappointment out of the driver seat of our life. We can lose sight of reasons to be thankful if we are focused only on disappointment.
What you give thanks for reveals what you value most. It also identifies the source of your joy and hope.
Having an thankful disposition also has many health benefits. A study by Dr. Robert A. Emmons on gratitude noted five benefits of giving thanks.
- Counting your blessings boosts your overall health.
- Slows down the aging clock.
- Put the brakes on stress.
- Being thankful helps you (relationally) bond.
- Good for the heart and waistline.[i]
Psalm 106 lays out an argument for establishing our gratitude on God. By anchoring your gratitude on the One who is for you and not against you, whose mercies are new every morning, who lifts your guilt, shame, and condemnation and has forgiven you, will enable you to fly above the clouds in life.
Having a thankful disposition will shape your outlook and experience in life.
By doing so you it becomes easier to endure and overcome life’s setbacks. Any source other than God as the reason to be thankful will lead us down a path of discouragement.
People, places, and things can be gifts from God and give us reasons to be thankful, but our source should always be God. Putting that duty on anyone other than God is a burden people, places, and things can’t sustain.
Let’s develop the idea of establishing our gratitude upon God and what He has done by looking at Psalm 106. Sandwiched between the instruction to praise the LORD is a list of Israel’s failures.
Sometimes a trip down memory lane will help us to remember why we need to be thankful.
- We and are our fathers have sinned/have done wickedness, v6.
- We rebelled at the Red Sea, yet you saved us, v.7-8.
- We forgot your works, v.13.
- We put you to the test in the desert, v.14.
- We acted jealously towards Moses and Aaron, v.16.
- We made a calf of gold and worshipped it, v.19.
- They forgot their God, their Savior, who did great things in Egypt, v.21.
- We despised the promised land, v.24.
- We yoked ourselves to Baal and provoked your anger, v.28.
- The people served idols, v.36.
- They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons, v.37.
- The anger of God was kindled against his people, v.40.
- Nevertheless, He (God) looked upon their distress when he heard their cry, v.44.
- You (God) relented according to the abundance of Your steadfast love, v.45.
Despite all the wickedness Israel had done, God, repeatedly, forgave and rescued them. If you find yourself in a similar pattern, don’t allow your past to deflate your present or future but let it be a springboard to thankfulness.
Consider the following verses:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1.
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalms 103:8.
What God has done in the past is the assurance of what He will do in the present and the future.
Let’s calibrate thankfulness in our life by unpacking three points David makes in Psalm 106.
#1 He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever! (v.1)
The word steadfast is a significant Old Testament word, in my opinion.
Steadfast is translated from the Hebrew word, Hesed. Hesed is defined as goodness, kindness, or faithfulness. It communicates God’s eternal and limitless faithfulness.
Faithfulness among Christians, it should be a priority. Our faithfulness reflects God’s faithfulness and a witness to the world around us.
#2 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD or declare all His praise? (v.2)
This is a rhetorical question, which the answer is an obvious, NO ONE! David is declaring that God’s deeds are so numerous who can keep track of them.
Even so, it’s possible for us to go throughout our day and not recognize God’s hand in our lives.
We may only notice God’s hand in our life when we narrowly escape an accident, or when we made it on time to a meeting by “hitting” every green light along the way, or when nothing goes wrong in our day.
Yet, we neglect the blessing of sunrise and sunset, a new day, because of its frequency. Are we overlooking how He works out for our good the difficult things that come our way when we only focus on the obstacles we face?
How much different would life be if counted every blessing versus picking out what went wrong with our day?
The truth is if I spent the rest of my life thanking/praising God for everything He has done and does for me, I would run out of life before I would run out of reasons to praise Him.
#3 You are chosen, favored, and blessed!
So often, we lose sight of how blessed we are by focusing on what we don’t have or on what others have. When you envy what others have, remember there is someone who envies’ what you have.
Envy and comparison create a blind spot causing us to undervalue our blessings and God’s faithfulness.
The word favor in this passage means goodwill, acceptance. God’s will is for your good! He has accepted you and welcomes you into the family of God.
Is it time to count your blessings?
Begin today, by leaving a comment below with what you are thankful for and begin to cultivate an attitude of giving thanks!