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Giving thanks because you are happy?

15-08-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

images_22 Gratitude is an attitude. You are grateful to the giver for a gift. By giving thanks you express this recognition. For example, to your parents for the opportunity they offered you to study. Or to your employer for an anniversary gifte Or to a friend for inviting you to dinner. And so on. In all such cases, there are people around you who give you something, which you can not claim, but which makes you happy. Gratitude, as a lifestyle, implies the recognition of God. Would I assume that the world and my life happens to have come about without a purpose, to whom could I be grateful for these blessings? Then indeed there is no Giver whom I can recognize and give thanks. For example, the fact that I breathe, move, eat, drink, sleep, love, laugh, enjoy, cry, in short, for everything that I am, what I have and what I am capable of. Without the prospect of a loving heart as motive for all this, there is no basis for gratitude. In Romans 1:21, Paul speaks about “glorifying and thanking God as GOD” This “God as God” means: He encompasses everything, without exceptions.

… since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all. Acts 17:25

God is the source of everything. Not only of what we experience in our lives with respect to what is good (joy, prosperity), but also to what is evil, such as pain, troubles and suffering. God “has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov.16:4). God never makes any mistakes and that is why we have always reason to thank Him. Giving thanks in everything (1Thes.5:18), but also giving thanks for everything (Eph.5:20). The importance of gratitude as a lifestyle cannot overestimated. Not only because it is the only appropriate attitude with respect to the Creator, but also because of the effect it has on our well-being. Man is made to be thankful. An expert in biological psychology wrote:

If gratitude were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product for the maintenance of the health and of every major organ.

The word of thanks and gratitude in Biblical Greek (= eu charis) is derived from the word for joy (= charis). Giving thanks makes you happy. Please note that order. We do not give thanks because we are happy, but we are happy because we give thanks. Last week I spoke to a lady who told me about some troubles in her life and about which she initially complained, until she came to understand that God also gave a place, in her life, for the troubles she experienced. Of course with a purpose. Instead of complaining, she went to thank God for that. Every time she thanked God for these troubles, she was reminded of the fact that everything happens for a reason and that God’s way is always the best. Even though she did not know herself, at that moment, what was best. You do not have to know the purpose of something to be grateful for the fact that it has a purpose. This habit to thank God for everything, changed her perception completely. It gave direction to her thinking and it made her happy. And this found-again joy also enable her to accept the hardships she had to undergo and deal with. Many serve a Santa Claus-god. A god whom they thank for the marzipan and candy and all the other goodies. That is not the God “out of Whom, by Whom and to Whom are all things” (Rom.11:36). Do not thank God  because you are happy, but thank Him because He is GOD, the source of everything, and Who directs all things and makes all things well. This is guaranteed to make you happy!