Being thankful is something everyone understands, even if they aren’t good at showing their gratitude. However, while many express “gratitude” – who are they grateful to? Much like love, gratitude without expression is meaningless, but for believers, gratitude without both expression and direction is powerless.
The power of gratitude is realized even in the secular, fallen world. Studies have proven there are measureable health benefits, emotional benefits and even benefits within communities among people who have a grateful perspective about their lives.
Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is a globally-recognized leading expert on the science of gratitude who has found that gratitude means 1) affirming goodness one’s life, and 2) realizing that goodness comes from a source outside of one’s self. However, Emmons also noted that “source” can be another person or ‘nature’, ‘fate’ or the belief in a ‘higher power’.
“…gratitude without expression is meaningless, but for believers, gratitude without both expression and direction is powerless.”~Alicia Purdy
Gratitude is the point of origin for praise to the Lord, not even to another person really because, ultimately, it all comes back to the blessing and faithfulness of God in your life. How is the gratitude of a believer different than that of the world?
Through praise, your gratitude is expressed from the heart through the body – the hands, the mouth, the confession, the songs and the actions of praise. (Romans 12:1)
All thanksgiving, gratitude, praise and acknowledgement is directed to the Lord in your praise and worship, first, before it is given to anyone else.
If your gratitude is not actively expressed and directed at the Lord, how is it any different than the vague “feeling” of “gratitude” the world experiences? There is a true spiritual power in giving thanks to God, but the enemy wants make sure you never walk in it.
“In Everything Give Thanks for This is the Will of God”
Paul wrote, “…in everything give thanks for this is the will of God…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). A common misconception about praise and worship is that it brings ministry to the person, when really, praise and worship are for the ministry of gratitude the Lord who ministers to His people. Does He “need” praise? No, but you need His presence and praise is where He dwells. (Psalm 22:3)
“Giving thanks to God in all things is a spiritual discipline, but it’s more than that – it is a spiritual protection for your heart, mind and soul in a world consumed with selfish desires.”~Alicia Purdy
The Lord doesn’t have any needs, (Psalm 50:10, 13-15) but He does have desires. He doesn’t need your praise and worship, He desires them. He created you to worship, not so He could be affirmed and adored, but because worship is how you express and direct your gratitude and through that, your spirit connects more intimately with His Holy Spirit. He desires YOU.
Giving thanks to God in all things is a spiritual discipline, but it’s more than that – it is a spiritual protection for your heart, mind and soul in a world consumed with selfish desires.
Connecting with the Spirit, through the Sacrifice
Worship is exclusively for the Lord, however, the “benefits of praise” are yours as you build a lifestyle of worship through gratitude directed at God in how you speak, how you interact with the world, how you praise and worship and how you live each day. (Psalm 103:2-5)
Lots of people are “grateful” – but to what? To whom? Without expression and direction of gratitude to the Lord, the feelings and words are empty and powerless, but as you give the Lord the praise He is worthy of, your mind and spirit and your faith grow stronger in the power of His presence that dwells in your praise.
Living a lifestyle of worship means that your commitment is first to the Lord and your words of gratitude and honor are expressed and directed to Him, first. It’s a spiritual discipline of intimacy that takes time to develop and intention and as you walk your faith journey and are sanctified and transformed by Him, don’t forget to build your faith around a heart that remembers to say ‘thank You’.
Thought for today: Thanksgiving Makes a Way
Every follower of Christ wants more of Him in their lives. But reading the Word and praying regularly are only two-thirds of the picture. Worship needs to be a strong faith discipline that you incorporate into your daily life so that you don’t lapse into ingratitude when life gets hard or self-centeredness when you don’t regularly fix your eyes on Jesus.
Did you know that the Lord promised that the sacrifice of thanksgiving would “make a way” and would show you the “salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23)? Those are powerful promises! Remember that praise and worship are for the Lord and because He is faithful and you are grateful, but those benefits He has built into worship are yours!
“The last thing the enemy wants is you to praise and worship in faith, or to find something in your life for which you can give thanks to God. He knows you’ll win if you worship!”~Alicia Purdy
The enemy wants nothing more than to keep you trapped in pain, anxiety and fear so you feel like you have nothing to give thanks for or that God isn’t faithful. He wants you to question why God doesn’t seem to listen, care or help. The last thing the enemy wants is you to praise and worship in faith, or to find something in your life for which you can give thanks to God. He knows you’ll win if you worship!
Remember, nothing in your faith operates by your feelings. They will always conflict. There is always something to be grateful for – and that’s what makes the power of gratitude a worship weapon the enemy cannot withstand!
Thanksgiving is the Great Gift You can Give to the Lord, Here’s More!