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Gratitude: the Key to our Choices


One of the most important Bible passages to learn about defending our Christian faith is found right in the middle of Romans chapter 1.

The whole book focuses on what God did in Jesus to bring people back to Himself. Right at the beginning we have a section talking about creation, gratitude, and the consequences if we refuse to cooperate.

The world gives us all kinds of reasons why some people go really bad:

  • The person had no family, or a rotten one
  • They didn’t have enough education
  • Poor nutrition/health care made them that way
  • They didn’t have enough money
  • People were mean and wouldn’t share with them

All these things are real problems. We are wise and right to help others overcome them and have the freedom to choose a better life.

But they don’t come close to the real cause. As usual, God reaches right into our soul and tells us what the deep reason actually is:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21

God has shown every person enough of who He is for them to have “no excuse” for ignoring Him. But people didn’t want to admit He is there because they refused to do two things:

  • Glorify Him as God
  • Be thankful

That’s it. All the awful choices they make with the rest of their lives go back to these two. We don’t want to worship anyone but ourselves, or a god we invent to do things our way. And we sure don’t want to have to say “thanks” and owe God for taking care of us.

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Americans, I’m sure you’ve noticed how the media and businesses don’t really focus on what Thanksgiving is all about. They’re fine with warm and fuzzy family time. They love good food and football. They’re really happy about people skipping sleep to go spend money the next morning. They’re even OK with saying “thanks” to you, to the turkey, to the world.

But it’s only those of us who have already chosen to follow God who like to remember the whole point of the celebration.

Let’s not be surprised or annoyed. God told us it would always be like this 2,000 years ago.

Our job is to take part in the heavenly celebration and shout His praises from the housetops. Social media and our emails are great ways to share beautiful reminders of what this Thursday is actually all about. Church praise times and passing on our blessings to needy people are Biblical, too.

Then there’s our families. When I am reminded of the pain, darkness, and misery God sees every moment, after I’ve asked Him to work, I like to focus on the one place I can change.

My goal as a homemaker is to give Jesus a place to settle down and relax. A place where He is honored as Lord, Savior, and Creator. A place where we’re never happy with our sin natures, but rejoice as we become more like Him every day.

And, assuming Romans 1:21 is true (which it is), praise and thanksgiving are the key to this goal!

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4