Within the church today there seems to be some basic Christian virtues that have been lost and neglected. It can be easy for us to focus on what we are to “do” as Christians and neglect what we are to become and the New Testament makes it clear that God’s desire is not for us to just be “doers” but for us to become like Christ. For us to become like Christ we have to intentionally develop the characteristics and virtues that display the glory of Christ.
The first virtue that I think we often see lacking in Christianity today is thankfulness.
Ephesians 5:20 “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
We are to give thanks always, simply enough that means always. When we don’t feel like being thankful we should be thankful. When circumstances tell us that we shouldn’t be thankful we instead should choose to be thankful. We are to be thankful for everything, why? Simply because we don’t deserve any of it. Even our trials, sufferings, and sicknesses are gifts compared to what we really deserve. Ultimately our thankfulness is to be directed towards God because He is the one that has given us all things. Do you thank God for the blessings in your life? When was the last time that you thanked Him for salvation or for working in you life?
Not only do we struggle to show thankfulness to God but we also struggle to show thankfulness to those around us. There are few greater ways to adorn the gospel then by being a thankful person. A thankful person is almost always a joyful person and a giving person. The person who is thankful for what he has also realizes the value in giving to others because he has seen the value in receiving from others. So what hinders us from being thankful, why is thankfulness such a lost virtue in our current christian culture?
We are not thankful because we are consumed with gaining more stuff
Materialsim is one of the great gods of our day. We don’t waste time bowing down to foolish wood carvings or rocks etched in the image of some god, no why settle for that when we can bow the knee to stuff. Electronics, clothing, furniture, cars whatever. All of it is good on its own but when we begin to love it more than we love God we have become idolaters and instead of thanking God for what we have we cling to it and thirst for more.
We are not thankful because we are entitled
No one would ever say that there entitled but all of us fight the feeling that not only do we deserve what we have but really we deserve more. We work hard so of course we should have a nice house. We went to college so of course we should get a nice paycheck. Why would we be thankful for things we have earned and things we deserve? See that’s exactly the thinking of an entitled person.
We are not thankful because we fail to see God in our difficult circumstances
God uses trials to mold us, break us and grow our faith. Simply enough God isn’t most concerned with your happiness, prosperity and health, He is most concerned with your faith. Nothing tries, tests and strengthens faith more than trials. If we truly believed that our trials would not lead us to the unthankful, god attacking state of mind that we normally have in trials. A trial isn’t an opportunity to put God on trial, its God putting your faith on trial. Its funny, when we go through a trial we are often times so self consumed that we can’t even think of anyone else let alone thank anyone else. Immediately we go right to the mindset of “we deserve better” and anything that we do currently have is something “we are entitled to” something that belongs to us.
Be thankful, it glorifies Christ and helps to shine the light of His gospel to those around you.