The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 38


It must have been a very difficult thing for Paul to give thanks to God. He had to suffer so much after he surrendered his life to Christ. As a minister of Christ, he shared about his “…labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2 Cor 11:23-27).

During his imprisonment, the Apostle Paul was still able to write letters to the believers in different churches. Why was he able to do that? Why is it important for Christians to give thanks to God, and to praise Him?

In the Old Testament, the people of God were urged to give thanks to Him, and to praise Him. “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (1 Chron 16:34). The psalmist said: “I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.” (Ps 108:3-4)

Indeed, giving thanks to God and praising Him are like a hand in a glove. They are inseparable. When we are thankful to God, we naturally want to praise His name. We cannot adequately praise and worship God without also being thankful.

Why should we give thanks to God?

1) When we are thankful to God, we remind ourselves that we are nothing. We become less arrogant or self-centred. When our hearts are grateful to God, we remember that all that we have comes from our Heavenly Father. James 1:17 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

2) When we are thankful to God, we learn to be contented. Oftentimes, we complain because we focus on what others have, and what we have not. Being thankful helps us to count our blessings even when these are few compared to the many that others may have. Indeed, “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Pro 17:22). Our perspective of life changes when we start each new day with a thankful heart. We will definitely complain less, and be able to appreciate the little things which we often take for granted – the breath of life, a small bowl of porridge, the company of family or friends.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonian church to be thankful. He said: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess 5:18)

1) When we are thankful, we are able to endure even the most difficult times in life. When we go to God in prayer and praise, we are assured of His strength in times of trials and temptation. (1 Cor 10:13). Many followers of Christ have been able to endure the onslaught of cancer, death of a loved one, imprisonment, bankruptcy, betrayal by friends…all because of a thankful and grateful attitude towards God. When our eyes focus on God, the physical and emotional pains become bearable. We are then able also to see that all things will work out well for those who love God.

2) When we are thankful to God, we will experience a “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil 4:6-7). This peace which God promises to His people will help us from being enslaved to our fears, anger, bitterness and unhappiness. In the past weeks, a sister struggled with some unkind words which someone said of her. She spent many sleepless nights being angry with the other party, and even doubting her own self-worth. But when reminded to focus on things which are true and lovely, she was then able to sleep well, and function normally again. Indeed, God’s Word encourages us to dwell on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things arelovely, whatsoever things are of good report”, and then “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7-8)

3) When we are thankful, we are freed from Satan’s snares to cause us to sin against God. Eph 4:26 says “Be angry, but sin not…” Thankful hearts will not dwell on angry feelings, and then we will not be so preoccupied with thoughts of vengeance against those who make life difficult for us. Satan, like a roaring lion seeking to devour the weak, will thus not have a hold on us, and cause us to be dragged further into sin.

Beloved, are you going through a difficult time this week? Is something robbing you of your sleep or happiness in the Lord? Be encouraged to give thanks to God even in seemingly unfavourable circumstances. Thankfulness will change your perspective of things and people around you. Begin this week with a list of some of the things which you can thank God for. When we dwell on God’s blessings, all our negative feelings will slowly disappear, and we will then be able to embrace God’s will for our lives.

Pastor Bob Phee

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