Dear Fellow Believers in Christ, (The Christ-Life in us is Genuine Thanksgiving to the Father)
Have you considered our Father's awesome love, that He would come to live inside of us through the Person and Spirit of His Son? Does that generate genuine thanksgiving within you? How does genuine love intertwine and outwork in genuine thanksgiving? How does prayer and supplications become effectual when they are offered with thanksgiving? How does the genuine faith of Christ express itself in genuine thanksgiving? What is genuine living thanksgiving? Let us go to God's word and let us see what the Holy Spirit just may reveal to us about genuine thanksgiving.
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work…while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God…Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (II Cor. 9:8,11, &15).
First, Genuine Thanksgiving Comes Out of Our Love for the Father
Genuine Thanksgiving begins with our love for the Father. Certainly, "We love Him (God) because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). This is because, God so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son to us for Savior and eternal life (John 3:16). Our Father so loved us that He called us and drew us to His Son (John 5:44). Our Father so loved us that He had the Holy Spirit rebirth us to be His sons in a new life and relationship for love and fellowship with Him (John 1:12-13; I John 1:3). Think about this. The God and Father of the universe so loved us that He put His only begotten Son in us to give us eternal life and salvation. What love – that our Father has chosen to live in us, through His Son in us? He is living in us – these frail, sinful earthen vessels of clay (II Cor. 4:7), to ensure that we will have eternal life and a love fellowship with Him forever. That reason alone, is enough to generate genuine thanksgiving in our hearts.
Second, Prayers & Supplications are Effective with Genuine Thanksgiving
Paul exhorts us to, "continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Col. 4:2). There are quite a number of discussions about prayer in the Word of God. I have noticed frequently in these discussions, that prayer is mentioned "with thanksgiving." This is not something that we should casually skip over. Paul said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6). This focuses that prayers and supplications are truly effective when prayed with genuine thanksgiving. There is something within genuine thanksgiving that releases the genuine faith of Christ within us to make prayer effectual.
Third, Genuine Mind Renewal produces Genuine Thanksgiving
Paul also declares that, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thess. 5:18). This is a real call here for genuine mind renewal in us. You will not be able to give genuine thanksgiving in everything that comes your way without genuine mind renewal. Without genuine mind renewal, it will be real tough to come to the point where we are "continually giving thanks always over all things in the name of Lord Jesus Christ to God and Father" (Eph. 5:20, author's translation). Many will face hard and tragic circumstances and situations. However, over and above all those things, we remain with a heart of genuine thanksgiving to our Father. We do know that all things – even bad things, will work together for good, when we love our Father with a heart of genuine thanksgiving (Rom. 8:28). So we receive all things, including our daily bread and our food, "with thanksgiving" (I Tim 4:3-4). We receive our Spiritual food, which comes from Holy Spirit genuine mind renewal.
Fourth, Genuine Thanksgiving for the Saints is From His Genuine Love
Using the renewed mind in us, Christ is liberated to express Himself in and through us. Christ in us is not selfish, but self-less. Christ in us is a love-for-others life and Spirit. We become concerned about the cares and affairs of others, rather than just our family and no more. This is when we really become more effectual. Paul saw that through the Spirit that he was bound to thank God always for the brethren (II Thess. 1:3). Paul repeats this again and says, "we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thess. 2:13-14). Genuine thanksgiving is born our genuine love relationship with our Father. His genuine love in us produces genuine thanksgiving for the saints (I John 4:7).
Fifth, Christ Living in the Body of Christ is Genuine Living Thanksgiving
Paul declares, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work" (II Cor. 9:8). When you think about the 100% grace of God extended to us to be His sons at our Spirit rebirthing, it is absolutely marvelous grace. It is all because of Christ's finished work on the Cross, that we are reconciled to the Father in this 100% grace state. It is no longer my doing or not doing, it is Christ in me being my life (Gal. 2:20). It is no longer my righteousness, but I received the righteousness of Christ (I Cor. 1:30). From Christ, who now lives in me, I now have received His Character – the fruit of the Spirit in every facet (Gal. 5:22-23). Paul states that in Christ, "all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God" (II Cor. 4:15). Christ living in and through the collective Body of Christ is an awesome – genuine living thanksgiving to God the Father!
Sixth, Genuine Thanksgiving to Others Inspires Genuine Thanksgivings
Certainly, our Father has blessed us with many blessings. Paul states that, "while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God" (II Cor. 9:11). Just considering all our Father's blessings to us and in us, produces a genuine thanksgiving to God the Father. When Paul says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13), strength isn't mentioned to enable a selfish endeavor of his own. In context, Paul is discussing the giving and sharing to and from the saints. The real reason Christ strenghens us is to do all things – to and for others. Then, these supplied saints will be inspired with many genuine thanksgivings to God (II Cor. 9:12).
Seventh, Genuine Thanksgiving Gives Glory to the Father Through Christ
Paul challenges us, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving" (Col. 2:6-7). With a renewed mind, we will know the Christ who lives in and through us. With a heart of understanding, we will let Christ live in and through us for others for the Father. Our needs and all those around us will be met, "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" in and through us (Phil 4:19). The Christ-life in us is Genuine Thanksgiving. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (II Cor. 9:15).