Choosing Thankfulness

Kate and I try to teach the boys about thankfulness at the dinner table. While they will go around and say that they need new stuff because their old stuff is worn out, we like to take time to go around and say what we’re thankful for. While we did this Jack spoke up and said in a very animated fashion that he was thankful for God’s love.
My soul was happy and my heart was pleased by my number 3 son’s answer. As Christians, our thankfulness is rooted in God’s love for us.
We can learn the art of choosing thankfulness by answering 4 questions from Ephesians 2:1-10.

1. What was my life like before God’s grace?
Paul’s answer to this question puts things into perspective as he says we were dead, enslaved, and condemned. On the outside we looked alive but on the inside we were cut off from true life because we were severed from God, the source of life. Just like a corpse in the dirt, we weren’t just dirty, we were interred.
     Paul includes himself in this category of living as a victim to Satan who rules the world like a dictator.
Paul says,
  • I lived in the lusts of the flesh.
This is emotional depravity. These are the deep desire, will, and decision-making capacity that always lead to a downward spiral.
  • I indulged the desired of the flesh.
This is physical depravity. Paul says the unsaved had no choice but to indulge the desires of the flesh.
  • I indulged the desires of the mind.
Paul mentions the rational capacity of a person. The unsaved indulge the desires of the mind.

By nature, we were children of wrath; we’re not basically good people. Paul dismisses the idea that we have good and bad in us, apart from Christ we are essentially and unchangeably bad.


          This changes everything. Why can we be thankful in all things? But God. Why must I slow down and choose thankfulness? But God. He did something.

2. What did God do and why?
In the middle of our horrific condition, when we were on our way to hell, already condemned and suffering the effects in our bodies and souls, God accomplished a decisive rescue mission. He sent Jesus Christ – fully human and undiminished Deity to save sinners from their hopelessness. This is why I can be thankful no matter what.
God raised us up and made us alive together with Christ. This is the good news of Jesus Christ and it’s grace, grace, grace. We are now indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God who makes us willing and able to do what was in our spiritually dead state: to believe and to live in a way that’s pleasing to God.
Has an attitude of thanklessness crept in? Do you seem to be more ungrateful than normal? Recall what God has done for you.
But why did God do all of this?
  • Because He’s rich in mercy and abounds in great love
Grace is getting something great that I don’t deserve.
  • I deserved punishment, by His grace He forgives
  • I deserved the consequences of my sin, by His grace He showed me mercy
  • I deserved wrath, by His grace He gave me relief

3. How do I receive the gift of salvation?
Paul repeats what he already said, “by grace you have been saved.” Grace provided the one-time payment for eternal redemption – the blood of Christ.
It’s grace but the means of receiving this grace is through faith. We are saved by grace, but we appropriate this grace through faith. In the case of salvation, faith is a wholehearted acceptance of the fact that what God says is true.

4. What difference does salvation make?
We are God’s workmanship. Before we were born, His plan for our lives is one of purpose. These works have nothing to do with salvation, they are the empowered works of a born-again believer.
In light of all of this, here are 3 Steps to Choosing Thankfulness:
1. Remind yourself of your sinful state
2. Ponder the goodness of God’s grace
3. Share my thankfulness with others




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