Friday, November 9, 2012

Becoming Thankful

Friends, I would love to introduce you to Elizabeth from DogFur and Dandelions.  This is her second month appearing on my sidebar.  I have been enjoying getting to know her.  I can't wait to get to know her even better!  Elizabeth is guest posting here today.  I love introducing you to other bloggers via guest posts.  Since Thanksgiving is this month, all I asked was that any guest posts be related to the topic of thankfulness or Thanksgiving.  Please welcome Elizabeth to the blog today!

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Thankfulness isn't a fall decoration. It's not something we "put on" for one month, and then stow away for the rest of the year, like festive tablecloths and rustic cornucopias.

It's something that we ought to wear every single day.

We have only to glance through Paul's epistles to see just how often we are to be giving thanks:
"...giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20
"...in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him ... abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7
"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We tend to focus on the commands here, and that's certainly a good thing. But can I draw your attention to something else?

Notice what's not there.

There's never a time when we don't need to give thanks. There's never a prayer we utter that shouldn't include thankfulness. There's never a circumstance in which we don't need to be grateful.

We are to wear thankfulness every single day, the same way we wear our skin. A heart of gratitude should be such a part of us, that we cannot be separated from it!

And it's not just being thankful for coffee, or gorgeous leaves on the trees, or fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies {although I'm very grateful for all of those things!}.

It's being thankful for the intangible things as well -- like who God is, what He promises us, how He sustains us.

True gratitude involves faith that God is who He claims to be. Faith that He is good and compassionate. Faith that He never changes, that He is for us what He was for Israel. Otherwise, what would we have to be thankful for, when we face the most dire circumstances?

True gratitude involves contentment with wherever God has placed us. Contentment with the limitations we face every day. Contentment with the imperfections we live with each moment. Otherwise, how could we give thanks in every prayer we offer Him?

True gratitude involves humility, realizing that we don't know what's best for our lives, and willingly trusting God's control. Humility to cast our concerns and cares at His feet. Otherwise, how could we abound in thanksgiving as we journey through the valleys and storms of this life?

Just as we are to put on the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith, and the other pieces of "spiritual armour" -- so we are to wear a spirit of thankfulness at all times.

And just how do we accomplish that?

First, pray. Pray that the Spirit would convict you of un-thankfulness. Pray that He would help you form the habit, and thus the lifestyle, of giving thanks in every circumstance. Pray that He would bring His words to mind, and help you remember to give thanks in every circumstance.

Second, practice. Practice giving thanks, and soon it will become a habit. Practice thanking God for one of His attributes every morning, and soon you won't just do it in the mornings. Practice saying thank you for the little things, as well as the big, and soon the words will characterize your everyday speech.

And soon, thankfulness will be more than just a fall decoration. It will be who you really are.


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Elizabeth Johnson blogs at DogFur and Dandelions, where she shares devotionals, book reviews, and other real life stuff that encourages Christ-centered living. She recently released an ebook, Trust Hope Rejoice, which you can get for free by subscribing to her blog. And she'd love to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook!
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