Triumph with Thanksgiving
—Gratitude is too often relegated to the backburner of our lives, rather than being a cardinal mark, or badge, of our daily Christian walk.
An attitude of gratitude is at the very heart of living a Spirit-controlled life. Grateful or grace-filled believers are Spirit-filled believers. What evidence might we expect of an individual living a Spirit-filled life? The litmus test that helps us recognize a believer living the victorious Christian life is whether or not they exude a spirit of thanksgiving. The presence or absence of an attitude of gratitude tips off the true state of our spiritual health. The New Testament links this spirit of thanksgiving with living a consistent Christ-like life. But is this spirit present in the church today?
Paul writes: “But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be ungrateful” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2). Does your church model the spirit of the age or the Spirit of Christ? If we are to experience daily victory over sin, the Bible teaches that the spirit of gratitude is pivotal to being consistently victorious. The apostle Paul connects triumph with thanksgiving, saying in 1 Corinthians 15:57: “Now we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Did you catch that? Paul links gratitude to victory. He does the same thing in 2 Corinthians 2:14, saying: “But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession.” Victory and triumph are linked to nurturing a spirit of gratitude. Show me a devoted follower of Christ experiencing victory, and I promise you, you’ll discover a life permeated with a thankful spirit.
Gratitude is one of the greatest evidences that God is present and at work in the life of a believer. In a world where we can find so many reasons to be ungrateful, so many opportunities to complain, so many excuses to be critical, and so many ways to be cynical; the Spirit of God invites us to take a different path. It’s the way of thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the doctrine of gratitude is too often relegated to the backburner of our lives, rather than being a cardinal mark, or badge, of our daily Christian walk. If the Holy Spirit is truly in control of our lives as Fellowship Baptists, then the spirit of gratitude will be a natural and normal part of our everyday lives. And that will change everything: how we treat our friends, our spouse, our environment; how we praise in our worship gatherings; how we pray and how we spend our money. Everything will change—for the good.
A preacher once said, “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin and an antiseptic.” It’s a vaccine in that gratitude prevents the invasion of a critical spirit. It’s an antitoxin in that it prevents the effects of poisons like cynicism. And it is an antiseptic because there is nothing like gratitude to soothe and heal a troubled spirit.
It is to the glory of God and for our great benefit that we are thankful to the Lord. In the following pages of our THRIVE magazine, we will seek to do that by celebrating what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do through our churches here and beyond. Read on. Get ready to be encouraged.