12 Benefits of Being Thankful

I have a sign in my family room that says: “There is Always Always Always something to be thankful for.” And while I know it’s true, I’ll be honest, I don’t always feel like being thankful. (Like um, last Tuesday.) BUT the Bible says to give thanks in all circumstances. Stating in matter of fact fashion that being thankful is God’s will for me (1 Thessalonians 5:18). So, well, I best be giving thanks.

But this doesn’t mean I walk around with a fake smile plastered on my face. It doesn’t mean I can’t be sad. It doesn’t mean I can’t cry or struggle or wish things were different.

It simply means despite my circumstances, I still agree, God is good and faithful and worthy of praise. A statement even more breathtaking in the wake of a broken heart, don’t you think?

But there are benefits to this thankfulness thing. It isn’t just for kicks God urges us to “Give thanks” sixty-two times in the Bible. Buffering our Christianity with verses like, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:15, 20).

Specifically, I thought of twelve noteworthy benefits. (Feel free to add more!)

  1. It Rights Relationships. I think you’d agree, it’s hard to stay mad at someone when you turn to God in thanks for them. The seeds of a thankful heart are able to overtake the roots of bitterness any day.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” (Philippians 1:3)

  1. It Gives Light to the Heart. To give thanks is to blaze a pathway for righteousness. It readies the mind for more, but ingratitude is an avid partner in turning one’s back on God.

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:21-22)

  1. It Makes Unbearable Circumstances Bearable. Do you know what Christ did the night before he was crucified? He gave thanks (Luke 22:19). An unbearable situation was made bearable because Christ set his mind on one thing and one thing only – the Father.

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24)

  1. It Silences the Enemy – Satan holds no power over a heart full of thanksgiving. As a sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving focuses our attention where it should be, on the provisions of the Father. While self-pity puts us right where Satan wants us – defeated, disappointed, doubtful, and despairing.

“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2; NIV). And if a child can silence them, just think what the conscience choice of thanksgiving on the heels of heartbreaking circumstances might be able to do!

  1. It Glorifies God – And there is no greater accomplishment. Nor is there anything more fulfilling.

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23)

  1. It stills anxiety – Oh but the bitter bite of anxiety is fierce. Stealing any sense of control we may feel. BUT to be thankful in the wake of uncertainty is to embrace a heart of peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

  1. It Shields Against Other Sin. Psalm 86:12 When I’m giving thanks with my whole heart there is little room for much else. But when I’m grumpy or bitter or moping around like a sad Eeyore (think Winnie-the-Pooh) the flood gates swing wide for a wide array of sins.

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me.” (Psalm 86:12-13a)

  1. It Helps Us Remember. When we give thanks, we tend to remember a little better who God is and what He has done. But a thankless heart is a heart that’s forgotten who God is compared to who we are, and yet he died for us anyway.

“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)

  1. It Leads to Joy. When I stop and consider all the blessings I’ve been given in Christ, how can I not be joyful? And I don’t mean the kind the kind of joy that comes with opening a fresh box of Lucky Charms. I mean the kind of joy that permeates even the hardest of days.

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1)

  1. It Gives Way to Contentment. To be thankful is to nourish contentment. And to be content is to recognize God is a faithful provider.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25-26, 33)

  1. It Teaches the Next Generation to Do the Same. Truth be told, if we don’t live it, they won’t either. But if we live a life of thanksgiving, giving praise to God for everything, so will they.

“But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.” (Psalm 79:13)

  1. It Brings Us Together. Tragedy may bring people together, but it’s thanksgiving that keeps them together.

“Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” (Psalm 111:1)

In addition, Proverbs 15:15 says, “The cheerful of heart has a continual feast.” But I dare say the feast begins with thanksgiving.

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When You’re Still Waiting

As a year slips past and another rapidly approaches I wonder…are you still waiting for something? direction perhaps? good news? joy? Does the change of the calendar find you still praying? Still spilling your guts before a seemingly silent God? Hoping beyond hope that this year…it will happen. Your deepest desire fulfilled. Your longing satisfied. Your dream finally realized.

If so you’re not alone. The truth is…we’re all waiting. Maybe not for the same thing. Maybe not with the same intensity or for the same reasons. But we’re all waiting…for something. And when the thing for which we seek most earnestly finally happens, it doesn’t take long before we’re waiting for something new. Why? Because the reality is… life’s about the waiting.

(The following excerpts are taken from a devotional I posted last May entitled Life’s About the Waiting. To read it click here)

Consider Abraham who waited 25 years for God to make good on his promise of a son. Consider Jacob who waited 7 long years to marry the love of his life. Or Rachel who watched Jacob father 10 sons before she nursed a sweet baby of her own.

Ask Joseph who waited 2 unending years for the cupbearer to remember him in prison. Moses who waited 40 years for God to finally use him to free his people from slavery. David who fought and hid and ultimately waited 15 years from the time of his anointing until he ruled as king. Ask Zechariah and Elizabeth who remained barren year after year though they fervently prayed. Yet God delayed for his purposes. for his timing. for the one who would pronounce the coming of the Kingdom – John the Baptist.

Consider the faithful listed in Hebrews 11 who are still waiting. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar” (Heb. 11:13a).

Consider the earth which “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). Consider believers who “wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). “Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

And then consider Noah who waited 57 days for God to open the door of the ark after the earth had dried. 57 days!! As if 10 months on a big boat with a bunch of stinky animals wasn’t long enough.

I can’t help but wonder what the atmosphere on the boat was like during those 8 weeks. “Dad we can see it’s dry outside…let’s just break the door down. Dad seriously…I can’t take this any longer! I need off this boat!” Or what about his wife? I could see myself begging to go outside.

Yet they waited for God to give the command to go. They waited for God to open the door. Certainly not something many of us are very good at…waiting for God to open the door.

But you know what? It’s not about getting through the doorway. It’s not about the achievement. It’s about the waiting. About finding joy in the waiting. About glorifying God in the meantime.

Because that’s where the blessing is. Not in the attainment. Not in the accomplishment. Not in the acquiring of a long awaited goal. The blessing is in the waiting. “Blessed are all those who wait for him” (Is. 30:18b).

It’s in the waiting we draw near to the God who saves us. Seeking diligently for His almighty presence. It’s in the waiting we come to know his strength and not our own. As we learn to trust. Learn to lean. And learn to pray. It’s in the waiting we get to watch Him work. In us. Through us. And around us. And it’s through the waiting we grow.

There is much blessing in store for a heart and mind that waits steadfast on God. So as tempting as it to wish away the waiting. To rush the waiting. To loathe the waiting. Let’s savor the waiting. Knowing there is purpose and blessing in the here and now. “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 27:14)

Because there’s blessing to be had in the waiting.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What are you waiting for? How can you bring glory to God by your actions and attitude while you wait?
How can you see God working in the waiting? What purpose might he have?

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