The Power of Thankfulnessby Kyle Headlee
Ingratitude and bitterness have a way of latching to our hearts when we spend too much time listening to the world. With nonstop news coverage of every tragedy in the world, we seem to be plugged into misery. However, all that fades in the presence of an almighty God who has given us the ultimate reason to be thankful: salvation.
In Philippians 4:6 Paul encourages the Philippians, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Paul’s letter to the Philippians, unlike many of his other letters, is one of thanksgiving throughout. Many times, Paul’s letters to different churches are filled with instruction and correction, but with the church in Philippi Paul writes with a sense of encouragement of the Christ-like reflection he sees in that church.
In this verse, Paul sets up a practice and precedent that we as believers in Christ and holders of the gift of salvation can be using in our own lives.
First, Paul states that the Philippians and we as believers need to let go of the anxieties the world encourages us to embrace. Whether it be financial woes, relational tensions, or physical ailments, these worldly anxieties and pains are covered by a God who is more powerful than our circumstances.
Next, Paul points to prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, through which a deep relationship with God can grow. Continuous communication with God, not only casting wants and needs his way, but also focusing our hearts on his will and desire, helps to foster a stronger trust with God. In my experience, this strong trust in God, despite the current woes of the world, produces a more gracious heart and in turn a wealth of praise for him.
Finally, after positioning our hearts in relationship with God and casting our cares upon him, Paul instructs us to let our requests be made known to God. I believe Paul states the verse in this way for us to grow in our faith as we turn to God for our needs. If we are truly reliant on God, and not worrying about anything as Paul instructs, then the timing in which God answers our prayers will bear less importance on the depth of our gratitude. The fact that the author of the universe is reaching out to have a personal relationship with us is reason enough to rejoice with praise daily.
With the holidays approaching, it is easy to forget the perfect gift of God’s love and instead compile a new wish list of costly things that we are told will bring us joy and happiness. We start to measure our worth in money and goods, but God wants our true joy to come from a relationship with him; for his love not only redeems us, but also encourages us to live up to our full potential in him. That is not to say that God doesn’t want us to be happy on the earth, but ultimately our joy and praise to him will resound more magnificently in heaven than here on earth.
It is a comfort to know that we have a future outside the woes of the earth, but we still have a responsibility to share God’s love with the world. Though this earth will pass away, while we are here we are charged with bringing heaven to earth. The outward expression of thankfulness to God in all things can be a very valuable tool to showing others the path to trusting in God.
Though it’s easy to be drawn into the negativity and bitterness that are all too abundant here on earth, I hold fast to my thankfulness for salvation and use that as a cornerstone for building my praise and thankfulness more and more each day. Our God is a God of redemption, healing, and restoration; and he is merciful enough to meet us where we are to begin a relationship that will transform us and the world around us. Though our problems may seem suffocating at times, all we need to do to breathe freely again is turn to God. He loves us intensely and gave his only son to ensure that we could never be separated from his love or grace. For that, I am forever grateful.
Kyle Headlee Kyle is a writer who has a passion for capturing the presence of God through words on a page, as well as via the livestream medium.