Realizing our moment-by-moment dependence on God the Creator for our very existence makes it appropriate to live lives of devotion, commitment, gratitude, and loyalty toward him, and scandalous not to.1
—J. I. Packer, Christian theologian
The God revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ and in sacred Scripture wants his children to be grateful. God’s incredible majesty, goodness, and love make it perfectly appropriate for us to continually give thanks to the Lord.
Expressing thanks and gratitude is also good for us. A critical component of living a good (happy, satisfying, and meaningful) life is incorporating the concept of thanksgiving and gratitude. Many studies (see resources below) have shown that being aware of and appreciative of the good things one has can serve to transform one’s whole life.
I’m convinced that even those of us who are more pessimistic by nature can learn to focus on being thankful—just as in Christ we can be joyful even when we’re not happy. I call it developing an attitude of gratitude. This topic is very important to our everyday life, so again consider studying and reflecting upon the helpful resources provided below.
Learning to express thanksgiving continually to God is an important teaching from the Bible. Here are six passages from Scripture on this critical topic. Why not consider reading these passages out loud around the family dining table on Thanksgiving Day? I plan to do so.
- Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”
- Psalm 118:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
- Psalm 147:7 – “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:57 – “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Ephesians 5:19–20 – “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- “God Makes You Glad: Positive Christian Attitude Linked to Happiness” (article by James C. Patterson II)
- “TNRTB Classic: The Benefits of Religious Practices” (article)
- “Gratitude Can Improve Your Life” (podcast with Hugh Ross)
- “Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude” (podcast with Kenneth Samples)
- J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1993), 22.