by Brandy Webb
I was listening to the Bible, and something struck me as very interesting and inspiring. In Psalm 50, starting in verse 9, God points out that He has no need for meat sacrifices. In fact, everything is His already. However, what He really desires is that we offer to Him “the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (v. 14). Thanksgiving comes from the Hebrew word yadah and can mean “adoration, a choir of worshippers, confession, praise, thanks (-giving, offering)” (Strong’s Concordance).
At first, I asked myself, how is it a sacrifice to give God thanks? Well, the truth is, sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes our carnal flesh doesn’t want to thank God. We are to thank God “in all circumstances” because this is God’s will for us (1 Thess 5:18). It is God’s will for us to thank Him always, everyday, no matter what we are going through.
Do we always feel thankful all the time? Do we feel thankful when we are going through a loss? Do we feel thankful when we are going through trials? Do we feel thankful in the times that we live in currently? Some of us may actually say no to some of these questions, but what if I said that it is during these times that we must strive our hardest to find something to be thankful about. It is these times that we must strive to offer up to God sacrifices of thanksgiving.
It isn’t a sacrifice to thank God when everything is going great. In fact, it is pretty easy to thank Him when we are joyful and happy. However, does being thankful during the good times make us any different than the rest of the world? We are to be set apart, a unique people, His people, etc. What better way to show the world that we are different than by being thankful, even if, from all outside appearances we “shouldn’t” be. Just think how different we are from the world when we praise our Father and Christ during trials rather than grumbling or complaining.
We should never cease giving God sacrifices of thanksgiving. I know that we live in a very scary world, but has the world ever not been scary since the sin in the Garden? Do you think that the apostles had it easy? They were watching their brothers and sisters being martyred. They were also martyred. They not only had the religious system of the day hating them, but they had the major governmental system hating them. Yet, they never ceased from giving thanks and praises to God, and they taught us to do so also.
Paul went through many hardships, beatings, stoning, shipwrecked, wrongfully imprisoned, and yet He tells us to speak “to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ” (Eph 5:19-20). Why? Because He knew that joy, thankfulness, gratefulness, etc, isn’t based on what we are going through and what we have. It is based on our faith in our Father and Messiah. It is the fruit of God’s Spirit within us, and it is our choice to be thankful, joyful, and grateful no matter what. It is our choice to show the world that this life isn’t all there is, and that there is something far better coming. It is our choice to believe in the Kingdom of God and to live out that belief. It is our choice to listen to God’s spirit and not quench it with doubts, fears, anxieties, jealousies, covetousness, selfishness, greed, and hate.
The truth is that the choice isn’t easy. To choose to focus on the joy you had with a loved one rather than the loss of them when they are gone is not easy. I know from experience. The choice to not fear when you listen to the news and to choose to trust God that He is in control isn’t easy because we are carnal physical creatures. However, praise, confession, and thanksgiving, helps build the Spirit of God within us quenching the carnal spirit. Giving thanks during trials increases the Holy Spirit. It is a sacrifice to refrain from complaining and negative speaking. It is humility building to force the carnal thoughts out of our minds and the grateful thoughts into our minds.
Therefore, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:15). So, instead of looking around you and giving into the negativity of the world, look around to find something to be thankful for because as long as we have the breath of life within us, we should use it for God’s glory, so “give thanks unto the Lord, for His good,” and His love and mercy is everlasting (Psa 107:1).