Roadblocks to Thankfulness

Written by Devon Bowman

I hope and pray that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I find the holidays to be a great time of reflection and focusing back on what matters most. I think most of you reading would agree that an important mark of Christian character is that of being thankful. Yet I think that many would also agree the current culture that we live in is mostly devoid of thankfulness. Why is this the case? What are some of the enemies of thankfulness?

I think that one of the reasons for our lack of thankfulness is being too focused on what is next and never reflecting on where we have come from. I know the culture that we live in is all about progress, moving forward, never stopping–and I think that is a good thing. We should always try to do better than we have done before. However, any good thing that is taken to the extreme becomes a negative. There are times, like the holidays, that are perfect moments to stop and reflect on the progress we have made in our lives. When we look at how far the Lord has brought us, then our hearts will replace our discontent with thanksgiving. 

Another reason that our thankfulness has been robbed is because of envy. I think one of the greatest vices of our culture is the vice of envy. Everything around us is shaped so that our desires are not focused on what we have but on what others have. Every advertising agency is after envy. It is what we feel when we scroll through Instagram or Facebook. It is the thought that says, “What they have is better than what I have.” Any time our attention is focused on what we do not have, we will struggle to be thankful in our lives. 

The third reason that we are not thankful in our lives is that we are distracted. I think one of the greatest enemies of thanksgiving is distraction. Thankfulness by its nature means that we are focused. When we are thankful we are intentional. When I am thankful to God in prayer, I am specific in what I thank God for. However, if my life is marked by distraction, my life will not be one of thankfulness. If I constantly desire to be pulled away from the world around me, then I am shielded from my motivations for thanksgiving. The reality in our lives is that we will never lack reasons to be thankful. All we need to do is just look for them. When we remove distraction in our lives we will naturally be thankful. 

The final reason I believe we lack thanksgiving is a false belief in our own achievement. When we think that everything that we have is because of what we do, then we will not be thankful. However, when we acknowledge that all that we have in our lives are gifts from God, thankfulness will overflow in our lives. All that we have, and all that we are, do not flow from within but from God our Father. 

So let us not allow these obstacles to cause us to not be thankful. We as Christians are called to be thankful for what God has done in our lives. We know that we have nothing apart from Him and His goodness. I pray this is a reality in each of our lives. I want to end out with some scriptures that encourage me to be thankful in my life. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:18

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High
.” –Psalm 7:17

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
 for his steadfast love endures forever
.” -Psalm 136:1

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