Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"The Fruit of Thanksgiving"

     A truly authentic life of thanksgiving expressed to God requires spiritual cultivation because gratitude is fruit rather than root.
    We do not give thanks in order to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks because we are walking with Him.  The sequence must not be reversed in our understanding.  As mentioned in yesterday's message, thanksgiving to God should not be viewed in the mercenary sense that supposes the expression to be a tool that enables us to better relate to Him.  It does in fact accomplish this, of course.   A.W. Tozer, for example, wrote of thanksgiving as "the sweetener of the soul" whereby gratitude expressed maintains the interior environment of our hearts as we navigate an often treacherous and painful exterior world.  However, just as we would question the genuineness of thanksgiving in human relationships if our offerings were expressed for reasons of personal benefit, so must we avoid any notion of giving thanks to God for purposes other than loving and sincere expressions of gratitude.
    Again, thanksgiving is fruit, the fruit of God's dynamic involvement in our lives, and of our eyes being open to the blessed reality because we are led by His Spirit.  Indeed, our spiritual temperature, as it were, can be measured by the conscious existence of gratitude within, and of thanksgiving expressed without.
    "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
    "By Him," that is, by the Spirit of Christ we consistently praise and thank God.  Gratitude originates in us as the Holy Spirit informs and reminds that this blessing, or that provision, or the next breath are gifts of our Heavenly Father to us.  "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).  We do not naturally think in such terms, making necessary the opening of our eyes to reality.  Our Lord illuminates us to such glory as we walk with Him, and thanksgiving naturally, or supernaturally, blossoms into "the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."
"Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy name: the upright shall dwell in Thy presence."
(Psalm 140:13)

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