"Joyously giving thanks to the Father" (Col. 1:11-12).
Joyous thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of every good gift.
The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 he says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." He told the Thessalonians to "rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:16- 18).
As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example in Romans 1:8 he says, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world." He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.
That doesn't mean you can't thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God's grace.
Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).
Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Hebrews 13:15 adds, "Through [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.
Suggestions for Prayer
Recite Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.
For Further Study
From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist's thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.