Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

A Deeper Appreciation for Thanksgiving—Not just a Day but a Living

Thanksgiving—to many Americans evokes the thought of a major holiday, long considered “turkey day”—a day for food, family, and football. Very little consideration, if any, is given to the significance, importance, or practice of “giving thanks.”

What intrinsically is “giving thanks”?

A profoundly simple definition of giving thanks to God is “to speak God as truth.” (Eph. 5:4). So in the context of “Holding to Truth in Love,” giving thanks is a very practical part of our “truthing it.” Our giving thanks is our speaking the divine realities. Such “giving thanks” should be a present, active, participle that fills our speaking and actions. Let’s consider more specifically the “who, when, what, and why” of our giving thanks.

To Whom should we give thanks?

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus…” (Col. 1:3)

The focus of our giving thanks is not the things themselves but God Himself, as the source of life and all things. Toward God, all men should thank Him for their very existence in His creation, for their life, the air that they breathe and the beginning of every new day. For He is the One Who made the world and all things in it (Acts 17:23) and the One who “gives to all life and breath and all things” (v. 25). He even causes the sun to shine on both the righteous and the unrighteous and the showers of rain to fall on all men.

But more than this, we thank Him as “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col. 1: 3). Thanking the Father of our Lord is a much higher thanksgiving for it recognizes Him as the source of the divine life in us. Thanking the Father is an expression of our appreciation for all the spiritual blessings we’ve received from Him, that is, all the blessings bestowed on us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3). While in prison, Paul thanked the Father for qualifying the believers for their share of the allotted portion of the saints in the light—for giving them Christ as their spiritual inheritance, like the inheritance of the good land given to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Such thanks is high and profound.

Every day, we should thank our God and Father for both—for giving us our physical life and breath and for giving us the Spirit of life that dwells in our spirit through His regeneration.

When should we give thanks?

“Giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father” (Eph. 5:20).

Giving thanks isn’t just something for the fourth Thursday of November; it’s something that we should practice at all times. Actually, I was considering the practice of the apostle Paul’s giving thanks. Much of his mention of giving thanks (especially in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians) was done during his Roman imprisonment. Yet, he opened each epistle with blessings and thanksgiving. His persistent practice of giving thanks surely elevated him above the abasement of his imprisonment into the realm of spiritual blessings.

For what should we give thanks?

Giving thanks is not only to thank the Lord for material blessings. For many today such blessings are not that plentiful. But does that mean we should withhold or diminish our thanks to God? Rather, according to Ephesians 5:20, we should thank the Lord for all things. We should thank God not only at good times for good things, but at all times for all things. Even at bad times, we can thank God the Father for bad things (Eph. 5:20, note 1).

As I mentioned in the previous section “To Whom Should We Give Thanks?,” the greater part of our thanks to God, if measured by that expressed in the New Testament, should be for the spiritual blessings in God’s economy—concerning Christ and the church. We should surely thank Him for our life, health, family and friends. But, how much more should we thank Him for predestinating us unto sonship (Eph. 1:4), redeeming us in Christ (v. 7), calling us through His grace (Gal. 1:15), regenerating us through His living and abiding word (1 Pet. 1:23), revealing His Son in us (Gal. 1:16) and causing all things in our life to work together for the good of His eternal purpose (Rom. 8:28). Such a list could go on infinitely.

Why Should We Give Thanks?

“Because though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or thank Him, but rather became vain in their reasonings, and their heart lacking understanding was darkened” (Rom. 1:21)

Genuine thanksgiving and praise to God preserves man from every evil thing. Thanking God is the best way to be saved from our ugly disposition. It is very beneficial to instruct children from their earliest age to thank God for all that they have. (Life-Study of Romans, Message 3).

“…Be filled in spirit…giving thanks…” (Eph. 5:18)

Giving thanks is also a very good way for us to be filled in spirit. From my own experience I can testify that thanking the Lord causes me to be filled with Christ.

Such thanksgiving surely expresses the Lord who set a pattern of always thanking the Father (Matt. 15:36; 26:27) and issues in glory to God (1 Cor. 10:30-31).

“Dear Father, we thank you today for all the blessings that we have received from You. Thank you for giving us our life, breath and all things. But, thank you so much more for making Yourself real to us—for revealing Yourself and Your purpose to us through Your holy word. Thank you for giving us a spirit to contact You and receive You and a heart to love You and enjoy You. Thank you for Your selection and calling. Thank you for redeeming us through the offering of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for sealing us with the Holy Spirit and making us your children, the members of Your family the church, and the members of the Body of Christ.”

For a further consideration of the matter of giving thanks you may also want to read a similar post at lifeandbuilding.com.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

3 Replies

  1. Thank you, Thomas, for finding the time today to share this with us! How I need to be saved from my ugly disposition! So I will try to remember to give thanks at all times for all things, not merely the good things. Life is full of opportunities to gain Christ! Don’t miss the hard times, those are often the biggest opportunities to grow in Him.

  2. even humanly we are preserved in a good condition and guarded from all kinds of evil things by learning to give thanks! But we need to learn to thank the Lord not only for physical or outward things but even more – truth-it by speaking the truth! When we speak the high peak truths in God’s economy, we give thanks to the Father who has qualified us for a share of the allotted portion of the saints in the light! Lord Jesus, recover our giving of thanks and our appreciating You in our daily living!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.