WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 17, 2021
TOPIC: THANK GOD ALWAYS
BY T. O. BANSO
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other” (2 Thessalonians 1:3 New King James Version).
The relationship some people have with God is transactional. Their relationship with God is all about what they can get from Him. All their prayer is about themselves alone and their petitions are about things God must do for them. As far as they are concerned, God exists only to meet their needs.
While it is true that God blesses and provides for His children, He wants to have fellowship with them. The relationship the true disciples or mature believers have with God goes beyond what He does for them. Their focus is on doing His will or pleasing Him.
One of the things that distinguish the true followers of Christ is thanksgiving. They thank God always for everything. They thank Him for themselves and others. They thank Him for salvation, provision, healing, and so on. Whereas everybody has needs and they also have, they don’t forget what the Lord has done for them and concentrate on what He must do for them.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other” (2 Thessalonians 1:3 New King James Version). Please pay attention to the phrase “We are bound to thank God always for you.” I consider it a powerful statement.
The Twentieth Century New Testament says it like this: “Brothers, it is our duty always to thank God about you.” Did you see that: thanksgiving as a duty? The Young’s Translation says, “We ought to give thanks to God always for you.” Thanksgiving is an “ought to” issue concerning you or somebody else. The Bible in Basic English renders it thus: “It is right for us to give praise to God at all times for you.”
The Thessalonians must have had issues in their lives like any other person but Paul focused on something to thank God for in their lives. It was always Paul’s style, most of the time, to start his letter by mentioning the positives. For instance, he wrote to the Christians in Romans, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1: 8 New King James Version).
Similarly, to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4 New King James Version).
As we have seen in 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul thanked God that the faith of the Thessalonians grew exceedingly, and the love of every one of them abounded toward each other. These were not material things, which many people usually focus on if at all they want to thank God. If they don’t see new material things added to their lives, they don’t see any reason to thank God. God may be doing great things in their lives, spiritually, but not physically evident.
However, the love for new things, materially, dominates the prayer lives of many people and is the focus of their relationship with God. This should not be so. How often do you thank God for your spiritual life – your growth, your steadfastness in the faith, the answers to prayers you’ve received in the past, God’s provision for you, especially what you never asked God for which He did for you, and so on?
The New Living Translation renders 2 Thessalonians 1:3 thus: “Dear brothers and sisters, we always thank God for you, as is right, for we are thankful that your faith is flourishing and you are all growing in love for each other.” Take note of that phrase “as is right.” Thanksgiving is right. It is right to thank God for yourself and others – for spiritual and material blessings, and the things God has done that you can see and what you’re not aware of, which He has done for you and others. Thank God always.
Don’t go about complaining about your life, spouse, children, loved ones, etc. Find out something in your life and others to thank God for. Yes, there are issues in your life and the lives of others. Undoubtedly, things could be better than they currently are. There are things you lack but there are also things you have. Be grateful to God for what you have and where you are.
Probably you used to pray seriously for what you’re now dissatisfied with. Maybe you always wanted what you now hate. Don’t let things determine or influence your relationship with God. There is no guarantee that you will be happier than you are or your life will be better if God gives you your current heart desire. Many people don’t actually know the right things they need but they want many things. Thank God always.
No matter your situation, offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17). Let thanksgiving proceed from you to God (Jeremiah 30:19). Sing to Him with thanksgiving (Psalm 147:7). Jonah 2:9a says, “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving” (New King James Version). Colossians 4:2 says to continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
The psalmist says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:1-3 New King James Version).
Bless the Lord at all times. Let His praise or thanksgiving always be in your mouth. Don’t catch yourself grumbling or complaining. In any situation, find a reason to thank God. Thanksgiving will improve the quality of your life.
Emulate Jesus. He thanked God for hiding the truth of God’s word from the wise and clever (Matthew 11:25). He thanked God before the miraculous feeding of 5,000 men and 4,000 men (John 6:11; Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6). On these two occasions, the limited loaves of bread and fishes available to feed the multitude were multiplied such that people ate to satisfaction and there remained leftover fragments. Learn to give thanks to God over the little you have instead of grumbling or complaining. God will multiply it and I will be more than enough.
The apostle Paul wrote powerful words about thanksgiving, which you will do well to pay attention to. He said in Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (New King James Version). Also, he said In Colossians 2:7, “Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done” (New Living Translation).
In 1 Corinthians 15:57, Paul said, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (New King James Version). Also, he said in Colossians 4:2, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (New King James Version).
Whatever God has given you, whether it is food, clothes, peace, joy, sleeping and waking up, promotion, or good health, receive it with thanksgiving (1Timothy 4:3). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1Thessalonians 5:18 New King James Version). Ephesians 5:20 says you should give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Give thanks always. Could you declare these words of David, Please? “I will thank you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done” (Psalm 9:1 New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for my ingratitude. Thank you, Father, for everything You are to me and all You have done for me. I shall bless You at all times; Your praise shall continually be in my mouth. No more grumbling or complaining. Holy Spirit, help me to thank God always. I shall make my requests with thanksgiving in Jesus’ name. Thank You, Father.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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