Reasons to Be Thankful
Near the end of this month the nation celebrates Thanksgiving. Looking into the word of God, we find many reasons to give thanks. Examples of people giving thanks are found near the beginning of many letters of the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 1:2 the apostle Paul states, "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;" During such prayers he remembers their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in the the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 1:3).
Faith is something for which we can be grateful. It is precious and necessary for us to develop as Christians (2 Pet. 1:1, 5). From 2 Thessalonians we learn that our faith can grow exceedingly. The apostle explicitly states this fact early in the letter (2 Thes. 1:3). But what if our faith is lacking? What if we feel like we are losing faith and are unsure as to how to restore it? We can develop our faith by the word of God that has been preserved for us. Let's seek it out and hear it regularly (Rom. 10:17). ^Through this, we can be thankful to God that provisions have been provided for us not only to gain faith, but also to strengthen it again if it ever wavers.
When it comes to love, we can be grateful that we have the perfect example of love. The Christians in Rome were told, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8). From this, and many other passages, we do learn of the death of Christ. Just from thinking about people who have served others to the point of death, we can come to the conclusion that giving up one's life is remarkable. In the Gospel According to John we find confirmation of this. It can found at John 15:13 where Jesus says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." The love of God is even more impressive when we remember that Jesus died for us even though we were not a friend of him. We were His enemies!
When that was so, we were ones without hope. But now we have been given everlasting consolation and good hope through grace (2 Thes. 2:16). These are great gifts from God, but it may still be sometimes challenging to continue in this life. We can take solace from the patient hope referred to in the scriptures. One such text was provided near the beginning of this article. We are also reminded of waiting for the hope of the righteousness by faith (Gal. 5:5). This can be done through the Spirit. In another place it is spoken of hoping for what we do not see. Though this is the case, we wait for it with patience (Rom. 8:24-25).
Eventually this hoping will reach its end where we finally see the One in whom we hope. The faith that we have been developing over the years will no longer be needed. After these things, we will be even more overjoyed at the love of God and be thankful to Him.