So then,just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7.
When thanks giving goes beyond the blessings, especially the material, to the Giver Himself. When thanks giving goes beyond what self receives to the Giver Himself. Above any benefit, any gift, to be thankful for the Giver, to be thankful for God himself, is when the heart overflows with thankfulness.
In Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis wrote, “We are taught…to ‘give thanks to God for His great glory,’ as if we owed Him more thanks for being what He necessarily is than for any particular benefit He confers upon us; and so indeed we do and to know God is to know this.”
Moses told the Israelites to love Yahweh with all of their heart and being because of who God is. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
In his vision of the throne of God the apostle John saw four living creatures, covered in eyes, like a lion, an ox, a man, and a flying eagle. Day and night they gave God glory, honor, and thanks, for who God is. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8.
When we know God and know his Christ, we understand the song of John’s vision in Revelations 5:13. Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Lamb who was slain yet is alive. He is the Lion of Judah, the King of kings. God is seen for who he is in Jesus Christ. In Christ is seen God’s holiness, righteousness, abundant grace, and love.
In Christ we see what God has done. He “brought us forth from bondage into freedom, from sorrow into joy, from mourning into festivity, from darkness into great light, and from servitude into redemption. There fore let us say before him, Hallelujah!”
We owe God more thanks for who he necessarily is, especially as we see him in Christ, than for any benefit or gift received from him. We are “bound to give thanks, to praise, to glorify, to honour, to exalt, to extol, and to bless him” for who he is (Gordon D. Fee).
How is it possible to give thanks to God in every circumstance? How are we able to live a life of thankfulness? What is the source of a heart filled with peace, confident of God’s power and glory, confident of his faithfulness and grace, confident of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ? Be grateful for God himself. Give thanks to God for God. Give thanks to God for Christ himself. Give thanks to God for his Spirit. Give thanks to God for God without thought of ourselves. Give thanks to God for who he is.
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. Psalm 145:1, 2, 21.