Among the things pointed out about the heart earlier is that it is the arena for ‘will and decision making,’ (Acts 5:4, Romans 6:17); ‘desires and wishes’ (2 Chronicles 6:7, Romans, 1: 24, Romans 10:1).
This arena happens to be the area the flesh has the strongest hold on the fallen (carnal/natural) man. The natural man loves following his own will over ‘God’s will’ by doing things his own way, making his own decisions, carrying out his own desires and executing his own wishes not minding if they are good or bad for him, or whether God is pleased or not, or others are hurt or not. Unfortunately, man doing things his own way has caused man a great lot of troubles, hardships and heartaches and especially in our relationship and walk with God because it is the cause of all acts of disobedience of man to God (Genesis 3:1-24).
Meanwhile, God’s topmost desire for His children is to do ‘His will’ – doing things as He has instructed, commanded and charged us in the Holy Scriptures. Among which are the charges on thanksgiving such as thus:
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
“and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by him” — (Colossians 3;15-17).
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, and giving of thanks , be made for all men; 2) for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (2 Timothy 2:1)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:4).
To the natural man, these charges on thanksgiving are absurd, and illogical because they are surely contrary to the natural man’s ways of doing things and thinking and also because gratitude is a spiritual activity. Therefore, obeying them is impossible. It is not natural for the natural man who seldom thanked God for the good things of life to thank Him for all things always as charged in Eph.5:20. It is not natural for the natural man to thank God in everything as charged in 1Thessalonians 5:18, when he only occasionally gives thanks when things are going smoothly as he had planned and favorably too. It is not natural for the natural man to give thanks to God for all men, kings and all in authority as charged in 2 Tim 2:1 when he rarely thanks Him for the gift of his family members, loved ones and good people who benefited them. It is not natural for the natural man to give thanks to God in whatsoever they do in words and all in deeds as charged in Col 3:15 because those things are considered done by the human power, might and skill. It is not natural for the natural man not to be anxious for nothing and by prayer, supplications and thanksgiving present their requests as charged in Philippians 5:6 when he has no relationship with Him and lacks the assurance his prayers would be answered and there is no inner peace coupled with a life that is in turmoil. It is not natural for the natural man not to be involved in filthiness, foolish talk and jesting as charged in Ephesians 5:4 because that is the language his heart devoid of the Holy Spirit of God knows how to speak.
However, with the regenerated believers within whose heart the Holy Spirit is and God has also created a desire to love and to obey Him, giving thanks to God as charged is achievable and mandatory. Giving thanks to God for all things, in everything, for all men, in whatever we say or do and whenever we stand to pray should be a welcome spiritual activity to believers, especially knowing that it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for His children (1 Thess. 5:18). Our Lord Jesus reiterated that He came purposely to do the will of God so we must do like Him.
Obedience is the first thing God requires of his children. All God’s commandments, charges and statutes are enabling and are given for our own utmost good (Psalm 19:7-8). When we give thanks to God we are responding in obedience to Him. When we obey God, we subject ‘our own will’ to ‘His own will.’ The more we engage in giving thanks to God the more our will becomes more submissive to His own will until totally submitted and doing it becomes our lifestyle.
Many blessings and benefits beyond human imaginations and understanding are all tied to obedience to God’s commandments including the charges on thanksgiving.
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good for His mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1)
GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I.