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Thankfulness: The Mark of a Believer

by Stephen Davey

For the believer, giving thanks is not just something we do on a Thursday in November, when we are gathered around our families, stuffing our faces with delicious food and then napping during football games. Thankfulness is meant to be a daily part of a Christian’s walk, and is––in fact––one of the unique characteristics of genuine believers.

By contrast, the mark of a godless culture is revealed in their attitude toward God, including their refusal to thank God for the blessings He has given to them.

Several times in his inspired letters, the apostle Paul describes a digressing, wicked culture as ungrateful to God. In the first part of Romans 1:21, he writes, “For although they (the world) knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” Paul described the unbelieving world to his son in the faith, Timothy, as “ungrateful” (2 Timothy 3:2).

Gratitude toward God is one of the clearest evidences of a godly heart while ingratitude toward God is a sure indication that someone neither honors, nor values God.

Did you know that at the very core of our sinful nature is this failure to value Him above all else, while refusing to honor, praise, and give thanks to Him? The Ten Commandments continue to challenge God-followers to demonstrate our priority in worshipping Him above any other “god” (Exodus 20:3).

The natural inclination of unbelieving mankind is to enjoy the blessing of Creator God and give the credit to someone else. The beauty of creation is credited to “Mother Nature.” A promotion or raise is the result of our “lucky stars” or even our own hard work. Healing in the midst of sickness is a surprising act of chance or fate.

When we do not give God the credit and honor Him as preeminent, we essentially replace Him with someone, or something else — this is the definition of idolatry.

By ignoring God and not giving thanks to Him, a person effectively rejects His role in their lives and replaces Him with something or someone they consider more worthy of thanks.

If we develop a godly perspective, we’ll soon realize that every single detail of our lives is an opportunity to give thanks to God:

  • The air you are breathing right now was put there by God to sustain your life.
  • The eyes you have to read the words on this page, and the brain you have to understand these words is the result of God’s creative design.
  • Your success in your job or at school is because of the talents God gave you when He created you.
  • Your salvation is the result of God’s saving power and His redemptive work in your life.

When you fully grasp just how much God is involved with the details of life, you can’t help but overflow with thankfulness to Him for his grace, mercy, provision and power.

No wonder Paul commands the Colossian believers to “be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). And that doesn’t mean we throw a half-hearted “thank you” skyward every so often. Paul actually writes, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him . . . abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6).

“Abounding in thanksgiving” is intended to describe all true believers; this becomes part of our unique witness to the world that Jesus truly saves.

So, do you want people to look at you and know you belong to Christ?

Give thanks!

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