WHAT IS GRATITUDE TO GOD?
“ Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ” Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV).
Gratitude to God is an act or expression of appreciation or thanksgiving rendered to God through the name of Jesus Christ with respect to His divine nature and all He has done regardless of the outcome of our prayers or prevailing conditions. Its practice should not be determined by any circumstance, but should rather be a daily event and occurrence in the life of every believer, because God has a nature of goodness and His thought towards us, are of good and not evil, to bring us to an expected end. The defining factor in gratitude is based on the image of God, and not what we can get from Him.This is the area where many believers erroneously miss out on the true meaning of giving gratitude to God, because their expression of appreciation to God is based on what they can get, rather than His image, and this is the reason why some believers engage in acts of ingratitude to God when they are faced with challenges or yet to be answered prayer requests.
The conditional attitude displayed by many believers in the area of giving thanks to God, has robbed many of their blessings, and in view of this, I would like to introduce you to what I call gratitude activators , which is centered on keeping believers continually on the altar of thanksgiving.
WHAT ARE GRATITUDE ACTIVATORS?
Some believers only praise God when the going is good, but when faced with a little challenge, their vocal cords become devoid of praise. Gratitude activators are biblical principles magnified with a view to re-orientate the mind of every believer in a bit to address and change the seasonal pattern ascribed to giving thanks to God by believers. These activators include:
UNDERSTANDING THAT GOD IS THE PROVIDER OF THE PROVISION
John answered and said “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from God” JOHN 3:27 (NKJV)
There are many believers around the globe, who divert the praise and thanksgiving meant for God to themselves, their pastors and people around them by reason of their actions and confessions. These set of people feel that their accomplishments in life is a function of hard work and personal abilities. When grace is absent from hard work, the resultant effect is fruitlessness and non achievement. Ingratitude is not just a function of ones blind foldedness towards God’s nature and great deeds, but also a diversion of His praise. God makes provisions continually for the whole world without the exclusion of sinners and those who blatantly reject Him, because He is good and His mercies endureth forever. The knowledge and acknowledgement of His daily supplies in our life will lead to the displacement of self exaltation, and an enthronement of God for all He has done in our lives.
UNDERSTANDING THE LIMITABILITY OF HUMAN NATURE
“He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” ISAIAH 40:29-31 (NKJV).
Every human has a limit and at that point of limitation, personal abilities can no longer act as a sustaining factor or a driving force in the pursuit to meet various requirements of life, thereby leading to an imminent state of stagnation.God empowers our abilities through the name of Jesus Christ by giving us the much needed force to breakthrough any personal limitation or barrier, and as a result, He makes us to soar like eagles in the sky as we attain unprecedented heights in every sphere of our daily endeavours and in the setting of new records. The Holy bible tells us that, we shall know the truth and be set free based on the knowledge of the truth which can only come from the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, and the realization of this truth exposes our weaknesses without God, thereby leading us to continually seek for His help in the daily renewal of our strength for all our endeavors in life. The continuous acknowledgement of God’s abilities and support over our lives for daily survival will always keep us at the altar of gratitude.
FOCUSING MORE ON TESTIMONIES
“My mouth shall tell of your righteousness And your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in strength of the Lord God; I will make mentions of your righteousness, of yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come” PSALM 71:15-18 (NKJV).
Great men like David in the Holy Bible knew the true value of giving gratitude to God, not because of their social status or possessions, but because the remembrance of the of the great deeds of God in their lives never departed from their hearts and lips. When life throws challenges at us, or when our heart desires are not met in time, we are very quick to forget the great deeds of God that were previously made manifest in our lives. Ingratitude takes so many forms, and one of it, is the inability to call to remembrance our testimonies during the periods of trials and temptations, because this inaction leads to a substitution of praise and worship meant for God with complaints and negative confessions. This is one of the quickest ways through which the devil robs us of our blessings, thereby for us to remain grateful to God, we must continually showcase His marvelous works in our lives through our testimonies, and His praises must never depart from our lips.
A FAITHFUL HEART PRODUCES GRATITUDE
“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” JEREMIAH 29:11 (NKJV).
A faithful heart is unwavering in focusing on the promises of God and not the sightings around its life and environment. It feeds daily and depends strictly on the integrity of God to bring to pass all that has been written by God concerning it. The reason why many are ungrateful today, is because they measure the integrity of God based on their circumstances, and by this action, they call God a liar when their desires are not met according to their own timing. God is not a man that He should tell lies, neither the son of man that He should repent, because His integrity is showcased through His words, and the biggest assignment of every believer, should be the discovery of Gods spoken words concerning us. For us to remain on the altar of gratitude, we must remain resolute in conditioning our hearts on focusing only on the promises of God while turning a blind eye to any form of distractions that might come our way.
GRATITUDE AS AN ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE TO GOD
“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations” PSALM 100:1-5 (NKJV)
Gratitude to God and service to God cannot be separated because genuine praise and worship which are requirements of service with respect to God emanates from a heart of thanksgiving. A heart that lacks gratitude cannot flow in the presence of God because the Holy Spirit dwells in a joyous and serene environment. For us to remain effective in the service of God, our hearts should always be filled with thanksgiving and praises to God, for all that He has done for us, while having faith that He will do greater things for us because He is faithful.
However, as the year gradually comes to an end, our gratitude to God should be centered on His personality, and not basically on what He did or did not do for us during the year.
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God bless you.
Cartoonist: Mike Asukwo