Friday, April 30

Exploding Thanks!

That's right. The driving desire to give thanks for who God is or for what God has done is a compulsion which collects inside and explodes from our hearts. Honestly, this is the feeling that I have experienced numerous times in recent memory, but I had never really thought to write about it. But it IS biblical, based on truth, so I feel it almost a necessity to address myself to it. 

OK, so we are familiar with the command, "In everything give thanks" (1 Thess. 5:18). Familiar also is the command when anxiety gives way to faith-filled prayer in order to "Rejoice in the Lord!" (Phil. 4:4-6). Now, the beauty of such a command is missed if we limit our understanding of the word command to "unwilling constraint." Thankfulness only comes from a willing heart, ready to express appreciation.

Let me give two guidelines regarding the giving of thanks.

1. Thanksgiving issues from a Spirit-filled heart. 
Ephesians 5:18 teaches us to "be being filled with the Spirit," and then proceeds to show how such a continuous filling affects us. Paul uses 4 participles (ending in "ing") to do this. 1) Addressing one another in psalms, etc. 2) singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 3) giving thanks always, and 4) submitting to one another. I focus here on the third, "giving thanks always." My point? Such thanksgiving is more than a command, it is a Spirit-produced response. It's what naturally comes out of a believer. It's almost as if he cannot help himself!

2. Giving "Thanks" Completes the Act
More. It's as if I HAVE to give thanks just to relieve (NOT a guilty conscience), but to complete the act of faith. It's kind of like getting out of the car and leaving the door open. You just have to go back and close it! YOU HAVE TO! I feel personally overwhelmed by God's generosity (however it's received) and therefore I remain in a sort of limbo until I actually stop and express heartfelt thanksgiving for his grace. In this sense, I enjoy it all over again. But it's better! It's one thing for God to perform a wonderful act of grace, it's quite another for me to relish it. How quick are you to give thanks? Does it comes spontaneously, freely?

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