Are you a Christian? If so, does that fact affect your attitude and the choices you make? A Christian’s life should always reflect Christ. As we walk in this world, it’s easy to forget the blessings we have when we only see the problems we face. Health troubles can bring fear, and job problems can make us angry. Through all the challenges we face, God is always there to take us through the turmoil. When we forget our blessings, we stop being thankful.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).
If you’ve received Christ for salvation, then you have everything to be thankful for. Just like everyone who lives in this fallen world, Christians face troubles, and quite often those troubles blind us to the blessings which abound. Your faith should mold your attitude; but if you only see the troubles, you’ll never see the blessings. Your countenance will be grumpy and your attitude will be contemptuous. Instead of seeing the troubles, look at the many blessings God has given you, and let His love shine.
King David comes to mind when we think of thankfulness and giving glory to God. A description of him as “a man after God’s heart” is found in 1 Samuel 13:14. David wasn’t perfect, but His love for God guided his way. When he sinned, he earnestly repented. When enemies pressed in upon him, he turned to God for help but also found a way to praise God in spite of the trouble. Many of the Psalms he wrote contain words of praise and thanksgiving, such as “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30-31).
Praises do please the Lord much more than all the things you might sacrifice in serving Him. It’s hard to embrace sin while praising God. David wrote many psalms of praise, but when you study the whole psalm, you might find that his praise was there in spite of his circumstances. Psalm 69 is one of those psalms in which we see David praising God in spite of what’s happening around him.
“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried; mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee” (Psalm 69:1-5).
David really was in the depth of despair. We’ve all been in a situation where we’re wrongfully blamed for problems. We make things worse while trying to make things better. We see the trouble all around; and we, like David, cry out in anguish before the Lord.
As Christians, we make choices every day as to whom we will serve. Will we live for Christ or bow to the evil in this world? If we choose Christ, we may become the focus of ridicule and mockery, even by friends or family. Even though David lived long before Jesus, he still had to make the choice to follow God Almighty. Even at that time in history, that choice could bring ridicule and scorn.
“Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face” (Psalm 69:7).
David was well aware of what was being said against him, but he also knew the type of people who were making a mockery of him.
“They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards” (Psalm 69:12).
When people mock you for choosing to follow Christ, consider the type of people who do the mocking. They are sinners who are in need of salvation, and they are the ones to be pitied. David made his choice.
“But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation” (Psalm 69:13).
David was beginning to look to the Lord for help through this trouble. Christians can learn so much from David. He honestly poured out his heart to God. He examined his motives and confessed his sin when he was at fault. He asked for God to forgive him and repented of sin with his whole heart. David never took God for granted. Like so many of the Psalms, David ends this one in praise
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).
King David had many troubles in his life, but he was always thankful to God in spite of the trouble. As Christians, we need to pay attention. Trouble may surround us and people might mistreat us, but we need to choose to praise God and thank Him for everything. Too often Christians seem to think we deserve the blessings we receive from God. We forget that the salvation and forgiveness we have through Christ came at a huge cost. Jesus left Heaven to walk in this fallen world and shed His blood on the cross. That should humble us. Too often we forget to seek His forgiveness when we sin, and we forget to praise Him in all things.
Paul is another one who chose to praise God in spite of circumstances. No matter what troubles he faced, he chose to serve Christ and give Him praise. We might think that times were easier all those many years ago, but they weren’t. The evil in the world, which is inspired by Satan, was just as vicious when the apostles were sharing Christ with the non-believers of the day. In those days, Christians were thrown to lions for the entertainment of those who followed Satan’s lies, and many other cruelties were used against them. What crimes were the Christians being punished for? Their faith in Jesus Christ.
There is much persecution against Christians today, and we need to look to Scripture for how we are to react. When Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Colosse, he was well aware of the troubles there. They lived in a very pagan culture and needed encouragement to stay grounded in their faith. Although Paul hadn’t been to Colosse, he had heard of their faith and was thankful. He encouraged the Christians there to walk in faith. We need that same encouragement today.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).
In both the Old Testament and the New, Scripture encourages us to stay true to God and praise Him with thanksgiving.
James reminds us that we have no idea what tomorrow may bring. No matter what it is that comes our way, our life on this earth is temporary and the troubles will pass.
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
Instead of making your problems worse by handling bad situations as a non-believer would, look to Scripture for guidance and ask God to show you His ways. He will give you the courage to live for Him. Remember, your circumstances should never rule your thankfulness to God. Thank Him in the good times and also in the bad times. Jesus Christ gave us everything, and faith in Him brings life eternal. When the vapor of our life passes away, only those things done for Christ will last. The choices we make today matter for eternity.
Christians have much to be thankful for, and we need to remember to praise Him.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We can’t necessarily be thankful for everything, but we can choose to be thankful in everything.
Thank You, Jesus, for Your love for me. Thank You for the eternal life You give.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
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