One of the greatest lessons any child can learn is to say “please” and “thank you.” Those simple words will take a person far in this life and in the next one as well. Lessons learned in the natural realm always translate into the spiritual realm. If saying “thanks” is so important in your day-to-day life, how much more essential is it in your moment-by-moment relationship with your heavenly Father?
Many believers are more concerned about the prayers God seems not to have answered than the multiple ones He has. It is very easy to become a spoiled spiritual brat. No one likes to be around a child that cries, complains, and throws a tantrum over a specific toy he did not receive, while sitting among a host of bright shiny new ones. Tragically, this is how most of God’s kids act. They sit, whine, complain, and are more concerned with what they seems to lack than the spiritual abundance piled in heaps all around them. Their wants have blinded them to the grace-filled provisions that God has so graciously provided. “Thank you” has quickly become a trite little phrase found in worship songs but not echoed out of the hearts of grateful children.
Thoughts are the fruit of the heart and mind. Thoughts produce words, and words communicate the depths of one’s heart and mind. Therefore, the fruit of the lips reveals a person’s heart. A tree that produces no fruit is worthless and takes up space and nourishment that could be given to a more productive tree. So, not to belabor the question but: What kind of tree are you? You see, giving thanks is ultimately a heart issue.
“Thanks” is not something you say occasionally when you get what you want. Thanksgiving is not a day you celebrate once a year either. The act of giving thanks is a sacrificial lifestyle all of us must continually walk in. Your level of gratitude reveals your grasp on the tremendous price Christ was required to pay for your sins. For many, God has become a vending machine where one deposits the counterfeit spiritual currency of money, effort, activities, or time, and then waits expecting Him to spit out your spiritual beverage of choice. In reality, that does not, cannot, and will not happen. Sadly many are sitting like spoiled brats in the midst of heaps of blessings, but seeing what they do not have, while anxiously longing for only what they want.
How arrogant! How presumptuous! How ignorant! It is amazing that a creature would say to the Creator, “Give me what I want or I will hold my breath till I turn blue!” Lack of oxygen in the natural kills brain cells, renders the body unable to function, and eventually leads to death. Yet, a life of thanksgiving is like breathing pure spiritual oxygen. A lack of it over a long period of time will weaken and kill your ability to grow in your relationship with God, eventually turning you into a weak, anemic, bawling brat, who resembles the god of this world instead of Jesus. I know those are tough words, but they are words of sober truth just the same.
It may be time to check your output of praise and thanksgiving. Is it continual and sacrificial? That is, does it consistently cost you anything? The words of King David ring with a clarion call every believer should heed when it comes to giving thanks: “…I will not offer a sacrifice to the LORD my God which cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24). Lack of consistency and cost ultimately reveal one’s lack of value in God’s indescribable gift—Jesus Christ. Are you throwing a tantrum surrounded by mountains of blessing, or are you wildly proclaiming the glories of your God? The fruit of your lips will proclaim the truth you really believe.