|Volume 21 Number 4 April 2019||
A wise, older preacher once told me, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” The older I have gotten, the more I understand this. What we think in our minds affects our actions and our lives. Many days end well or badly depending on our mindset that day. Many situations could have turned out differently if an attitude check had preceded the event. The overall mindset we possess in life will ultimately determine where we end up. This applies in the physical realm with our careers and earthly endeavors, but also and more importantly, it applies in the spiritual realm—where we will be in eternity.
One important characteristic of God’s people is an attitude of thankfulness. God’s Word stresses the importance of having a disposition of thanksgiving. As we keep that attitude, we will not forget the love of God shown toward man, take blessings for granted or forget the sacrifice Christ paid for us, thus “setting our minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2, 15; Ephesians 4:23-24). With thanksgiving at the center of our minds, we will have the attitude of the Psalmist (100:4), spend more time in God’s Word (Matthew 5:6) and live Spirit-filled lives as commanded in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:15-21).
Having an attitude of thanksgiving means we will think about and be thankful for Christ’s sacrifice every day (not just on Sundays). Have you ever contemplated what it would be like in this world if He had not made that sacrifice and fulfilled all righteousness? Without His death, burial and resurrection, Christianity would be pointless, and we would have no hope of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15). It is a terrible thought. The wonderful fact is, God came down and dwelt among His creation showing Himself to be the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). He became fully human with all the weaknesses, desires and temptations therein (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15). He did not sin because He always remembered His purpose, leaving for us an example to follow (John 5:30; Matthew 7:21). How thankful we should be (and encouraged, too) that Jesus did not submit to the devil. He laid aside for a time full equality with the Father in order to accomplish His will and become our Passover Lamb, High Priest and King (1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 8:1-6; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 1:5). Jesus makes it possible for man to approach and come to God (1 Timothy 2:1-7). Because of Christ, we can come to God’s grace through faithful obedience (Romans 5:1-9; 6:3-6; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8). Our Lord made the ultimate sacrifice, and may we offer the sacrifice of our lives in service to Him, being ever thankful for the God of salvation (Romans 12:1-2).
Christians should be thankful for the written Word that God has given us. Our Creator has not left us to wander aimlessly in the dark concerning our salvation. He gave us His will, written down over hundreds of years, by about forty inspired individuals and containing a unified theme running from the first page to the last. There are a number of ways that God could have revealed His will, but He has made the Scriptures available to all men. How thankful we should be that the Bible can (and should) be in every home in the world. There is a poster online that reads, “What if we treated our Bibles like we do our cell phones? We would take it everywhere with us. We would turn back to get it if we forgot it. We would check it throughout the day for messages. We would use it for an hour or more every day.” Indeed, how different the world would be if everyone treated God’s Word in such a way. When people receive the Word as from God and not from man, rejoicing and thanksgiving follow (1 Thessalonians 2:13). His Word is “settled in heaven,” “pure and proven” and “a light for our path” (Psalms 12:6; 18:30; 119:89, 105). No other book can give us a glimpse of our Almighty God, give us daily bread to consume and guide our way to Heaven. It is God-breathed, and it is the only way God speaks to us today (2 Peter 1:3). Are you spending time in God’s Word? Are you truly thankful for His Word?
When we spend time studying God’s Word, we will develop an attitude of thankfulness for the blessings our Lord has given us and others, with whom we can share those blessings. The Holy Spirit emphasized the importance of giving thanks to God for life’s necessities and spiritual blessings. One does not have to read far in the New Testament to come across the words or phrases, “thanks,” “be thankful” and “thanksgiving.” A few examples are 2 Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 5:4, 20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 2:7; 3:17; 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15 and Revelation 7:12. We can see the example of a thankful attitude set forth by our Lord in Matthew 15:36, Luke 22:17-19 and John 11:41. May we follow Jesus’ example and be thankful for all things. When was the last time we thanked God that we got out of our comfort zone and had the opportunity to speak about the Gospel, were persecuted for His name’s sake or for some simple task we did behind the scenes that helped others? How often (other than the prayer for giving during Sunday worship) do we give thanks to God for the means to work and make money so we may give back to Him, provide for our families and help the poor (2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:8)? There are so many blessings we take for granted, and instead of focusing on what we do not have or our own problems, let us start counting the blessings with thanksgiving that God is giving us every day.
We should be thankful for the role God has given us. Through His Word, God tells both man and woman what He expects from them. He has given men the responsibility to lead the worship assembly of the church and to be the spiritual leaders in mixed-gender groups as well as in the home (1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-25; 1 Peter 3:1-7). The reason for this goes all the way back to the beginning, and male leadership has been expected by God since He created the first man. In Scripture, we can see that God made man and woman equal in His sight (Genesis 1:27). We are sinners in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:28). Being equal, however, does not mean we have the same functional roles. God placed different, but equally important, responsibilities upon man and woman. The woman’s role is one of submission. We are to submit to our husbands as the leaders of our families (even if he is not a Christian because you are trying to be a good example to him, 1 Peter 3:1). We submit to the men in the public assembly of the church by not becoming the teacher or taking over their authority. The inspired apostle Paul commanded the older women to be “teachers of good things,” admonishing the younger women to remain faithful (Titus 2:1-6). A woman may teach women or children during Bible classes and in everyday personal situations. A woman may accompany her husband in teaching others outside the assembly, as Priscilla did in Acts 18:26. Indeed, there is a great need in the Lord’s church for women to teach and to exhort other women and children to be faithful. We need to be thankful for our role in serving God and be more willing and able to teach His Word! Let us have a thankful attitude in all things and exclaim, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).
[Editor’s Note: This is an especially well written, biblically accurate article that is always timely and needed. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]