Something we can give to God directly is thanksgiving, it is with that attitude that we should relate with God. A heart of thanksgiving overflows in music to God; that is why many of the psalms are linked to thanksgiving, in acknowledgement of the help he has received from God. David composed a song to be sung in the temple of God. He word: give thanks to God, for his mercy endures forever (2Chronicles 7:6, 16:7-37).
And one of the signs of the end is that people will become unthankful (2Timothy 3:2, Luke 6:35), they will lose the sense of wonder at the blessing of God, falling into the trap that Nebuchadnezzar fell into (Daniel 4), when his heart was lifted up and began to think of himself as more than mere man as worthy of worship, forgetting that there is someone who owns the breath in his nostril, forgetting that he is not God.
There is the risk of thinking we are God, that we have it all figured out, that we are responsible for the advances we have made, that we are self-made men. We get this attitude from Adam and Eve in their sin (Genesis 3). It was the same satanic appeal to Eve that makes us to feel, even unconsciously, that we can be God, and so become unthankful to God, since we are in competition with him, seeking to be independent of him. When Eve bought into the satanic agenda, she stopped being grateful for the bliss in the garden; she was told she can be God, the one receiving thanks from others, and not giving thanks to anyone.
God never says thank you, because he does not owe anyone anything. Everyone depends on him; he does not depend on any. But we owe him everything and we give should give thanks to him for them.
Why not, right now, give thanks to God for ten things. How did that make you feel? Suddenly you get a different perspective of things with the practice of thanksgiving, or a more-refined God-perspective of things. God always has a positive view because he is in control. Giving thanks to him is your acknowledgement that he is in control, and with that you are in agreement with him.
Thanksgiving can actually be warfare. What if Eve had been thankful when the devil came trying to trip her in her walk with God by spewing negativity to her mind that she should proclaim independence from God to be like God?
If she had said: “serpent, hold it” and remember how God was the reason she was existing, how the garden where she and her husband stayed were specially set up by God for them; if she had remembered the beauty in the garden and the pleasure she gets from the fruits in the garden, and the great company of the animals which they rule over as God emissaries, she would have only a conclusion that contradicts Satan’s suggestion: the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8).
Maybe she was not thankful because she took the reality of the garden as a right not as a gift, as a matter of course. She took God for granted. And when she lost the heart of thanksgiving she lost the garden. Thanksgiving is a heart that reaches out to God, embracing him as the giver of all things good (James 1:17).
Thanksgiving is not done because God wants his ego massaged, it is because of our need to be properly-oriented to him, because being wrongly-oriented to him is never good. See where it landed Adam and Eve. Thanksgiving revealed that we recognise God for who he is in our lives and therefore are qualified for more; otherwise loss is around the corner, because thanksgiving opened the door to God, and lack of it opens the door to the devil.
When we develop an attitude of thanksgiving, we immune ourselves against depression; with thanksgiving we emphasise the brighter side of life and gain an hope perspective, but complaining always comes from a angry heart not from a joyful heart. And the bible says that it is with joy that we draw from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3).
Thanksgiving conditions the soul to live in the reality of the presence of God, recognising him at every turn. It is therefore an essential part of walking with God.
People should give thanks to God when they receive gift from him. However, when Jesus healed ten lepers, he was surprised that only one came back to give thanks to him (Luke 17:12-17), and it was a Samaritan. The rest (Jews) had the feeling of entitlement. They received healing but were not thankful, they knew how to ask but not how to say thank you, in the true Eve legacy.
The Samaritan, who felt he does not deserve it, recognised the grace of God. That will help you gain a heart of gratitude, knowing that it is by God’s grace that you have what you have, that it is not by power or might by the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6) that you get things done. With a heart of thanksgiving, he (Samaritan) shows he sought not just what he can get from Jesus, but to connect to Him. He bowed to him and so received more blessing.
Thanksgiving is a form of worship, the means of entering God’s presence, tuning to his realm. When we give God thanks for his gifts, it helps us re-focus our mind to him, stopping us from ascribing the works of God to any other source; or maybe even taking some of the glory for ourselves. A heart of gratitude recognises what God has done. It is him and him alone; he might have used others, but all the goodness in our lives (Psalm 16:2) is ascribed to him, even if we do not recognise that, or refuse to.
Do you owe God a backlog of thanksgiving? Did he do something but you have failed to reciprocate in thanksgiving? That should be rectified. Begin today to pause and give thanks to God for prayers answered even if they seemed mundane.
You left your house in the morning and came back in peace just as you prayed in the morning; do not forget to return the thanksgiving to God. The atmosphere of thanksgiving is an atmosphere of God; it is projecting into the environment the accurate understanding of God changing, thereby changing the spiritual atmosphere. In thanksgiving you always have something to gain and nothing to lose. With everything else, you gain a renewed connection with God.
But we do not just give thanks when we get something; Paul said that we should with thanksgiving make our request known to God (Philippians 4:6), as a cure for worry, anxiety. That means we should always associate prayer with thanksgiving, as the recommended mix of faith. Jesus actually hinted that thanksgiving was an expression of faith. After the Samaritan former leper came to thank him for healing, he said: your faith has made you well. Jesus recognised faith in his thanksgiving. Thanksgiving will definitely make faith to rise up in you. Prayer is reaching out to God and reaching out to him with thanksgiving always trumps complaining.
In the book of Hebrews we read: anyone who comes to God must know that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him diligently (Hebrews 11:6). And giving thanks to him is a sign that you know that he is; that you recognise him as the giver, the rewarder.
In thanksgiving, you move into the realm of God, the realm where everything is possible, where what we ask is already given. Thanksgiving helps to put the limit off God in your mind, increasing your faith/confidence level. A heart of thanksgiving places God in his rightful position and by the same stroke is positioned to receive even more.