Meditation teaches thankfulness
Thanksgiving is vital for the spiritual health of believers. An unthankful heart is a faithless heart, but a thankful heart is living and able to see what others cannot. First look at the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
What is meant by ‘everything’? It’s easy to be thankful for the good, but what about the things that cause discomfort or pain? The truth is, if you are walking in God’s plan, everything is good. Mankind measures good by our comfort and feelings, but God measures good based on eternal value and significance.
It’s easy to be thankful when I get a new car. Or house. Or job. Is it easy to be thankful when a storm comes through and destroys my car and house? Or layoffs take my job? It’s not easy. In fact, it’s impossible to be thankful unless we can see beyond the circumstances and into God’s loving kindness.
An unthankful heart destroys faith, joy, and the ability to walk in God’s promises. Look at Romans 1:21
Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This passage is speaking of those who have rejected salvation, but the sad truth is that it also applies to you and I. We know God, but do we glorify Him as God? Do we rest in the truth that He guides our lives and has the right to give, take, and lead as He sees fit? We, who are called by His name, can become unthankful and futile in our thoughts. Then our heart becomes darkened and foolish.
Just think about the results of thanklessness. When someone becomes angry at God, what happens in their lives? They rebel, adopt destructive behaviors, become bitter, and crumble as a person. Have you ever seen a bitter person bubbling with life? No, they slowly implode and become lifeless and more bitter.
It’s interesting that being unthankful is at the center of those experiencing darkness in their lives. When we’re thankful, everything about our outlook is bright and vibrant. When we’re unthankful, all of our thoughts are futile, vain, and worthless. An unthankful person thinks negatively about everything. They can’t see the good because they are focused on the bad. An unthankful person can’t enjoy the scores of good things surrounding them because they can only see what doesn’t fit their expectations.
When our thoughts become futile, relationships suffer, our heart suffers, and everything in life suffers. It becomes a heavy burden that we carry needlessly. The more weight we carry, the more frustrated we become, and the more weight we add to our load.
Unload the burden. It isn’t yours to carry. Every defeated Christian lives in a self-imposed prison. Bitterness is the material that we use to construct our own prison. Then everything in life falls short of God’s glory. This is why the Bible warns that one root of bitterness springing up can defile many. A Christian cannot thrive without thankfulness. Every unthankful Christian will fall short and miss out on God’s best. Fortunately, the Bible tells us how to maintain a thankful heart. Meditation. Look at Psalm 77:11-12
11 I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.
I love the way the Psalmist explains meditating on God’s works. He first speaks about thinking upon the wonders of old. What have we seen about God’s goodness and ability to fulfill His good will through the examples we have in scripture? Or examples in the history we’ve read from those who trusted Him? The psalmist progresses up to his own life. Then he meditates on all of God’s works. His heart overflows with gratitude so that instead of complaints, he feels the need to talk about the wonders of God’s works.