July 15, 2018
PRAY: Ask God to strengthen your faith so that you believe the assuring and comforting words of Psalm 100 and praise God with a joyful song.
READ: Psalm 100
Usually when we think about thanksgiving or are challenged to be more thankful, our minds immediately think of physical things we have in front of us. When we teach children to be thankful, we help them create lists of people and things they have been given. While it is important to thank God for his physical blessings, Psalm 100 is pointing our eyes and hearts to something more: our spiritual blessings.
Turning our hearts of thanksgiving to more than the physical things allows us to be humbled because we are sure of the truths that come with our identity in Christ. While we were still sinners, Christ the Author and Perfecter of life died for the broken: you and me. Death could not conquer Him; He rose from the dead so that you and I can have the hope of eternal life with our Creator. We are washed white as snow in Him.
When we focus our attention on the spiritual blessings that are now ours because of Christ’s death and resurrection, our service is no longer about what we get in return. Verse two talks about serving with gladness. I don’t know about you, but this can be a major stumbling block for me. Whether it be helping with extra activities at work, washing extra loads of laundry, making meals to bring to a church member who is ill, or serving on Sunday mornings, serving is hard (let alone doing it with gladness). Fixing our gratitude to God on His spiritual blessings found in Christ allows us to serve and do it with gladness. If we look to serve and receive physical rewards, eventually resentfulness settles in when we decide we have not been compensated fairly for our service. But when we serve humbly because our hearts are full of thanksgiving for God’s spiritual blessings, we can serve knowing our reward is a character that looks more and more like Christ.
By focusing our thanksgiving onto our spiritual blessings in Christ, we are able to be content in all circumstances. If you have lived more than a few years, you are all too familiar with the trials of this world: heartbreak, suffering, sickness, and the brokenness of humanity. But when our thankfulness isn't just for earthly things that come and go, but more so God’s truths and promises, our souls can find rest and peace when the storms of life rage.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, even when the world is in turmoil. Because we know our hope is not in this world and its ever-changing circumstances, we can affirm that the LORD is good and His faithful love endures forever. In the raging storms of sickness or loss, we can give thanks to Him and bless His name. We can be sure of our rock and firm foundation because in Christ we:
- are children of God (John 1:12) (Romans 8:15)
- are chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
- are completely forgiven (Colossians 1:14)
- are no longer slaves to sin, but free. We are being transformed to into His image (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
- have our needs met by God (Philippians 4:19)
- have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)
- can be sure that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6)
- have been bought at a price and belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- are loved so dearly that while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
- are free from the victory and sting of death. We are victorious through Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
1. Make a list of three spiritual truths that resonate with you. How can you make a joyful noise in service to the Lord because of these truths?
2. What are some ways you are free from the ever-changing tides of this world because of your identity in Christ?
3. What are three ways you can have a heart of thanksgiving for your spiritual blessings found in Christ?
GO FURTHER: Read Psalm 107. Consider how many times the Psalmist directs us to the change that happens when we belong to Christ. We are no longer slaves to the circumstances of this world. We are delivered because of His steadfast love.
1 Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to God!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we are his—
his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;
his faithfulness, through all generations.