The spirit of thankfulness and gratitude – Part 1
The year is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for God’s blessings and favour. Much more, for Christians, it is a season when we celebrate the birth of Christ and the redemptive work Jesus brought to humanity.
Gratitude comes from the same word as freedom (gratis = free). Gratitude is the free expression of the heart towards one who freely gave. God has freely given us all things through Christ Jesus, so we need to be thankful for all He has given to us. A. W. Tozer says, “Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”
The Holy Spirit makes thankfulness and gratitude possible. Where the Spirit of the Lord is; joy, thanksgiving, and gratitude fills the air. Thankfulness and gratitude are possible when the Spirit fills our hearts with joy and thanksgiving. In Psalm 4:7, the Psalmist rejoiced for the greater joy God has given to him beyond material things. “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine” (Psalms
Ordinarily, the human heart is very reluctant in expressing gratitude, but the Spirit of God quickens our heart to be thankful to God. Either deliberately or due to negligence, we are prone to forgetfulness. This is why the hymn writer reminds us to deliberately take stock of all that God has done for us, “Count your blessings and name them one by one.” Unless we take time to list God’s favours and blessings, we may never appreciate the extent of His love for us.
In Psalmist 103, the Psalmist urges us not to be forgetful of His benefits. We all enjoy numerous benefits from God daily. Then in verses 1-5, he lists five benefits for which we should be grateful to God for. One, God forgave and still forgives our sins. We walk about shoulder high and confident that our sins have been forgiven. Two, God heals all our diseases. Despite the advancement in science, no age has been exposed to a variety of sicknesses and diseases like our age. Apart from the emergence of new diseases like Ebola, old diseases transmute into new forms. Yet, God has spared us of most, if not all, of them.
Three, God has redeemed our lives from destruction. Daily, we are treated to the news of one horrifying destruction or another; air disaster, road disaster, fire disaster, industrial disaster, natural disasters, city violence, etc. God has spared us of them all. Daily, we are exposed to various heart-wrenching destructions, but God keeps on delivering us. Four, “he crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies.” Five, God fills our mouth with good things. We can hardly forget the good things God allows us to enjoy. His providence made all these possible for us.
Psalm 100:4 is another key Psalm that explains how we can be thankful to God. In verse 4, the first word is “enter his gates” with thanksgiving. Note the word “enter his gates” with thanksgiving. When the scriptures say, enter, then you need to enter and not stand. Some stand at the gate instead of entering. Then. “His courts with “praise,” then he adds, “Be thankful to him, and bless his name.” So, thankfulness and gratitude is our duty as living creatures.