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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

Why Should Christians Be Grateful?

America isn't the only country that celebrates some form of "Thanksgiving;" however, this post reminds Christians worldwide why we should be the most grateful of all people. Here are a few Bible verses that remind us why we should maintain our "attitude of gratitude" in the Lord.

As God's Word, the Bible provides believers with all the justification they need to have grateful hearts. As I think about how grateful I am during good times and challenging times, as I watch the world unravel in real time, I know that God is good and worthy of our gratitude at all times.

These are just a few scriptures that speak to my grateful heart. Each is well known; there are no surprises. Still, I pray they will remind you and encourage you to add your favorites to the gratitude list. And share it with the rest of us!

Genuine Christian gratitude is more contagious than any plague or pestilence manufactured in worldly laboratories. Yes, gain of function "Science is Real" (according to the popular lawn signs), but "God is Omnipotent." Have no fear. Be grateful.

Grateful: John 3:16-18

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Without God's willingness to sacrifice Himself (Jesus) to save the world, we would still be under the impossible Law of the Old Testament. Jesus has paid the price for those who believe in Him.

God has assured you, me, and our brothers and sisters in Christ that we will not perish but have everlasting life. All because we believe in the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. How could we not overflow with gratitude?

How could nonbelievers be grateful for a Thanksgiving turkey and fail to give thanks before the meal to God, who offers them salvation? How foolish can we be?

Grateful: 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

At first reading, these verses imply that once you believe in Jesus, you are no longer a sinner. Because the old sinner version of you is gone, and the new and improved version--the pure as the driven snow you--is here. Wahoo! That's cause for immediate celebration and thanksgiving!

Unfortunately, the world interrupts our blissful state of sinless transcendence when a fellow driver cuts us off in traffic. We quickly recall the appropriate four-letter words, the only ones appropriate for the infraction, and offer the corresponding hand/finger gestures as we drive by our brother in Christ.

We may even recognize him from the church next door. He smiles and returns the same finger wave. There is a horn-blowing discrepancy between what we know about who we are in Christ and what we do in Christ.

I'm sure the example above has never happened to you, but you get the picture. We don't mystically shed the old behaviors once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

About "the old is gone and the new is here," William MacDonald, in his Believer's Bible Commentary, notes, "The verse does not describe a believer's practice but rather his position."

MacDonald points out a critical distinction for believers, especially new believers, to assimilate. God no longer counts our sins (past, present, or future) against us because of our "position" in Christ. Once we believe, our sin debt washes away by the blood of Jesus. That fact is cause for celebration and gratitude!

Believers don't need to suffer perpetual moral guilt because their sinless position in Christ only sometimes results in sinless behaviors. Only God knows how many new believers have questioned the legitimacy of their conversion experience when they sin shortly after their new person has come.

However, it's also a mistake to believe that we can continue living as we did before being born of the Spirit. Remaining in a perpetual state of salvation without behavioral change is lukewarm faith. This is a dangerous position as a believer because the next step may be falling away from the faith altogether. No. God expects something more from us as we begin our walk with Christ. And I am grateful for it.

Grateful: Luke 9:23

"Then He said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'"

Here is our call to change. First, Jesus points out that it's no longer about what I want but what God expects of me. My days of lounging on the hammock like a sunbathing Shih Tzu, awaiting the rapture, are over.

Second, acknowledging that we are here for a new reason, a new meaning, adds the "why" that is elusive for so many nonbelievers. Much of my professional work involved helping people find meaning in life, especially while suffering.

Living for something beyond our flesh, our wants, is inherently meaningful. This new sense of meaning in life (albeit with some lingering sinful behaviors) is evidence of the new you. Being able to say, "I have meaning in life because of Jesus," is reason enough for a grateful heart. But there's also have a new purpose that pulls you toward your God-Directed future.

Grateful: Hebrews 10:36

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."

If God becomes our meaning in life, Jesus offers our purpose for moving forward. Meaning gives us a reason to wake up each morning, with gratitude, and purpose pulls us out of bed, eager to take up the cross again.

And, if you enjoy the adventure in life, there is no more extraordinary adventure than to say each morning, "What's on the list for today, Lord?" Because you are now of the Spirit, His Divine Wind may carry you to unfamiliar places where you find unexpected opportunities. Or, He may calm the winds and allow you to find rest and peace right where you are.

Whether calm or breezy, no matter where the wind blows, from fair skies to typhoons, God will always be by our side. As a result, we can feel free to relinquish control because God is always in command. So we must keep going and persevere even when we want to quit. If we don't quit, God will make good on His promise and welcome us into Heaven. We can be very grateful for this promise.

Grateful: Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Remember this one if you are looking for a verse that will offer comfort in the middle of the storm. Whatever God calls you to do in His name, the world will inevitably stir up storms to blow you off course. But be strong and courageous in the Lord. He has already made a way through your storms of life. So then, when you see the opening in the clouds ahead, remember to offer a prayer of thanks to the One who will never leave you or forsake you.

Concluding Thoughts

So many people enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with gratitude for all of the world's blessings. Yet, at the same time, others endure the holidays depressed, without meaning or purpose in life.

Still, others like you and I, believers in Christ, can enjoy the holiday season with joy because our meaning and purpose are grounded in the Word of God. We are grateful for the sacrifice that God made on our behalf. We know we aren't perfect; sin is still knocking at our door. But we have faith in our position with God and the unique purpose that pulls us through the storms. We will persist. And we will not be afraid. Our God is with us. For all this, I am grateful.

Heavenly Father, I pray that you give every reader of this article a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. Show them what You are calling them to do, and allow them to feel Your Divine Wind in their lives. Allow them to experience the joy, peace, and encouragement that can only come from You. Please bless them and keep them and their families safe during the upcoming holiday. And always, give them a heart full of gratitude for all you do in their lives. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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