Justin Tucker, LHBC Worship Pastor
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
So I throw up my hands
And praise You again and again
‘Cause all that I have is a hallelujah
And I know it’s not much
But I’ve nothing else fit for a King
Except for a heart singing hallelujah
Over the past several weeks, I have been reading through Paul’s letters in the New Testament. As I was reading through Colossians, this verse caused me to have a gut check moment. I felt the Holy Spirit ask me,“Has the Church lost its gratitude? Have you lost your gratitude?” Immediately I answered that there was no way that I had lost my gratitude. I had too many things to be grateful for. My gratitude though had looked more like quickly “counting my blessings” or a task to check off the to-do list. I was missing the transformative power of having Biblical gratitude.
Gratitude, in terms of the Bible, gratitude is grounded in God’s love for us who are unrighteous, rather than in self-righteousness. The English word “gratitude” derives from the Latin root gratia, which means “grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.” The term most often translated as “thanksgiving” in the Bible is the Greek word eucharistos, which comes from two Greek roots: eu meaning “good” and charis meaning “grace.” It isn’t a coincidence that the terms “grace” and “gratitude” come from the same Greek root word: According to the Bible, at the heart of gratitude is a response to the overwhelming grace of God.
Biblical gratitude includes giving thanks for all things, not just our blessings. After all, the Bible teaches that “every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” – James 1:17. Seen in this light, believers in Christ should thank God for everything he gives us, even if we view them as not good at the moment. Our gratitude should be rooted in the trust that God has a better longview of my life than I do. For example, I have gratitude towards my parents for steering me away from certain experiences and people in my life that looked like a good time, at the moment, but they could see something that I couldn’t see and wouldn’t allow me to do it.
Gratitude is integral in our mental health. Look at Romans 1:21, Paul writes: “Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Gratitude is one of the keys to being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Paul tells us that to be filled with the Spirit looks like “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God” (Eph. 5:20). Gratitude is a major aspect to having a healthy prayer life. Before we come to the Lord with our laundry list of hopes and desires, we need to reflect on what God has already done for us. Paul writes, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Lastly, gratitude is the key to unity with other believers. It is impossible to stay mad at someone that you 1) pray for and 2) actually thank the Lord for. In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful”.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for the gift of eternal life that was given through the shed blood of Your Son. Thank you for the gift of Jesus who not only died for our sins but lived to be an example for all of us to follow. Lord, grow us in gratitude, not for just the things that you do for us and bless us with but also for leading us away from temptation and protecting us from the enemy. Help us to be grateful for the difficult people in our lives. Teach us to find common ground to bond over and bind us together with Your love and Spirit. We love You and we ask all these things in the mighty name of Jesus, amen.
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
James 1:12- 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him