GIVING THANKS IN ADVERSITY
The spirit of thanksgiving can cause Believers to rejoice on the banks of the Red Sea, to look at the fiery furnace and say, “Our God is able,” and to endure life’s impossibilities with the knowledge that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
The verse “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!” (PS. 100:1) anticipates the day when “Every knee shall bow” (Rom. 14:11) before the Savior. Our faith is a shouting faith. After the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho seven times, they shouted to the Lord with a voice of triumph, and the walls came tumbling down. There are some Jerichos, some walled cities of the enemy, that will not come tumbling down in our life until we lift our voices to God in the shout of victory and release His power. We do not shout for what God has done, but we shout in faith for what God will do.
Christians should follow the admonition of Isaiah, who said, “Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!” (Is. 12:6)
David encouraged the upright in heart to shout for joy (Ps. 32:11). People at football games scream without a care, but Believers inside a church find their dignity keeps them quiet. Believers in the resurrected Savior have every reason to shout for the Bright and Morning Star and to offer thunderous praise to the Conqueror of Calvary.
GIVE THANKS WITH JOY
Thanksgiving is unrestrained happiness. We are to “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. 100:2). Think of the Sunday school teacher who grumbles at her class because the students’ work is sloppy, and they will not sit still and be quiet. With one eye on the clock and the other on the door, she fusses about the preacher’s sermon going too long. As the children leave the room, she does not stop to say goodbye because she is too busy cleaning up. Finally, with the children all gone she dashes to the car to wait for her husband, who is talking with a visiting family. Her husband comes to the car and says, “Honey, we are going to lunch with that new family.” The look she gives him would freeze water. What kind of joy can she be getting from her service to the Lord? None. What kind of love can she be showing from the Lord? None.
Jesus Christ was in the happiness business. He gave us three cheers: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”; “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven”; “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid.” The place to be happy is here, and the time to be happy is now. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing (100:2).
Singing is an important part of the Believer’s life. Christianity began with angels singing over the Bethlehem manger. According to Revelation, eternity will begin with the saints of God singing the song of the redeemed.
GIVE THANKS FOR GOD’S AUTHORITY
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 (v. 3).
Before we can have any real joy, we have to recognize the authority of God. To blame God for what we do not have is to fault God’s provision. To blame God for where we are in life is to fault God’s leadership. To blame God for who we are or what has happened to us is to fault God’s sovereignty. We were created by Him for His pleasure.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise (v. 4).
Being thankful is easy when life is running smoothly. It is another matter when things are not going well. However, the Bible tells us that we are to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
GIVE THANKS WITH TRIUMPH
We must thank God for the gift of life by living triumphantly. “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:18-20). Spirit-filled people are thankful people. If we are not thankful, then we are dominated by the world, the flesh, and the devil.
GIVING THANKS MAKES PRAYER EFFECTIVE
Thanksgiving is necessary to make other forms of prayer effective. “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7). Without thanksgiving, Paul wrote, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Rom. 1:8).
SING A THANKSGIVING SONG
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations (v. 5).
This psalm shows the importance of worship and praise in a Believer’s life. When was the last time you shouted for joy because God answered the request of your heart? When was the last time you served the Lord with gladness? When was the last time you entered His gates with thanksgiving? If you had to think about that answer, then it was too long ago. Commit yourself to a spirit-filled relationship with Christ, begin with a song of thanksgiving.