Do you know that there is more to thanking God than simply saying thank you? Discover different ways to express your gratitude to God. Some of these may even surprise you. I pray that your life of thanksgiving will become infinitely richer as you apply these simple pointers.
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Voice, shouts and songs of thanksgiving
For You have made me rejoice, LORD,
by what You have done;
I will shout for joy
because of the works of Your hands.
5 How magnificent are Your works, LORD,
how profound Your thoughts!
The first way in which we express our gratitude towards God is with our voices, with singing and rejoicing. It’s the common way that we know. There is a voice of thanksgiving, then there are shouts of joy, shouts of acclamation, shouts of gratitude towards God. He says, “I will shout for joy.”
Very often we can for cultural reasons prefer to just quietly mumble our thanksgiving to God. But the Bible is is a book that demonstrates very clearly that there are varying modes of vocal expression of thanksgiving towards God.
I can sit here meditatively and say, “Lord, thank you so much.” I can be so overwhelmed by His goodness that I am almost lost for words. I very calmly, very quietly, very profoundly, very deeply, express my thanksgiving. I could also be very exuberant and boisterous in my expression of thanks. And we should have all those different forms of expression.
Shouts of joy say, “Thank You, Lord! You are so good. Lord. I am amazed; how wonderful are Your works! You are excellent Lord!” We are so excited at what God has done, that we cannot contain ourselves. Let yourself have those flights of celebration of the goodness of God; He deserves it. The Bible shows a wide range of emotions and expressions of gratitude, from quiet meditation to shouting, to cries of joy. And we must never forget, His works are so magnificent, that they are bound to provoke a reaction.
Ps 69 I will praise God’s name with song
and exalt Him with thanksgiving.
We express our appreciation of what He has done, we say it quietly, boisterously, meditatively, joyfully; we exclaim and we marvel and we speak of the magnificence of His works; in singing, and acclamation.
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6 I wash my hands[a] in innocence
and go around Your altar, Lord,
7 raising my voice in thanksgiving
and telling about Your wonderful works.
8 Lord, I love the house where You dwell,
the place where Your glory resides.
9 Do not destroy me along with sinners,
or my life along with men of bloodshed
10 in whose hands are evil schemes
and whose right hands are filled with bribes.
11 But I live with integrity;
redeem me and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
I will praise the Lord in the assemblies.
- We thank Him in song, celebration, dance, proclamation.
- We thank Him with gestures of thanksgiving.
- We don’t thank Him culturally, we do it biblically.
We thank Him with testimonies
Testifying of the goodness of God is an expression of gratitude; we give thanks when we say what the Lord has done. In Psalm 62 verse seven, he talks about telling of His wondrous and wonderful works. And when we do that, we are expressing our gratitude. In our church, we have a strong culture of testimony. Some people don’t understand that, and they think, “well, it’s my story.” No! If God has done it, it’s no longer your story; it’s now His story! It’s the story of His mighty works. And by telling it, you are glorifying Him; you are thanking Him.
So, don’t ever get tired of telling the story. Whether it is how He saved you or how He delivered you or helped you or healed you. Anything that God does for you, feel free to say it and shout it from the rooftops, and tell anyone who cares to listen, and even those who don’t care to listen! Just say the things that God has done. It’s a way of saying, “thank you, Lord.” And then the Lord sees that you value His works in your life. You appreciate what He has done. Don’t ever say to someone who tries to remind you of what God has done for you, “oh, yeah, well, that was back then, now I have other problems!” Some people act that way. But the Bible says, “forget not His benefits”.
We thank Him with our conduct and integrity
Ps 62 11 But I live with integrity;
When a person is truly grateful, values what Jesus did for them on the cross, values all these benefits they experience in God every day, it will affect the way that they live, it will affect your conduct. It’s one of the great motivators of excellence of virtue, and of integrity in our lives. A grateful person chooses a particular lifestyle because they do not want to bring opprobrium upon the name of Christ.
And so, if you find yourself very easily disobeying the Lord; doing things you know are not pleasing to Him – check your gratitude level! When you’re truly grateful to someone, you want to please them, you want to do things that they like you. You shun things that will hurt and sadden them because you’re very conscious of all that they have done for you. Think of children, sometimes they want to do something naughty, but they think “oh my parents will be very sad”. They hold back because they don’t want to sadden their parents, they don’t want them to have to deal with the fallout of their poor conduct.
Love for and gratitude towards God compel us to do the right thing. Gratitude changes the way we think and behave. And many of the behaviour problems that Christians have are due to ingratitude. Live in a manner worthy of the Lord, and choose not to bring opprobrium on the name of the Lord.
We thank Him with sacrifice, giving to God
Leviticus chapter seven, verse 11 presents the fellowship offering. The fellowship offering is divided into three parts. First, the thank-offering, then the vow offering, and finally the freewill offering.
11 “Now this is the law of the fellowship sacrifice that someone may present to the Lord: 12 If he presents it for thanksgiving, in addition to the thanksgiving sacrifice,[c] he is to present unleavened cakes mixed with olive oil, unleavened wafers coated with oil, and well-kneaded cakes of fine flour mixed with oil. 13 He is to present as his offering cakes of leavened bread[d] with his thanksgiving sacrifice of fellowship. 14 From the cakes he must present one portion of each offering as a contribution to the Lord. It will belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the fellowship offering; it is his. 15 The meat of his thanksgiving sacrifice of fellowship must be eaten on the day he offers it; he may not leave any of it until morning.
The thank-offering was for things God had done; they came to thank Him for something specific. The vow offering was also a form of thanksgiving offering, but it was brought when a person had made a vow to the Lord, and He had done what they requested of Him. So they came with that offering to say thank you because they had received what they wanted from the Lord and they came to pay their vows. The freewill offering was brought by somebody who simply wanted to fellowship with the Lord, and thank Him; thank Him for everything, for His goodness, His love and …. everything.
So, what does this mean to us today? Under the New Covenant, we don’t follow the sacrificial system, but we can still choose to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving. We can still, because of something that the Lord has done for us, decide to bring a special offering. We can say, ‘Lord thank You, I just bring this special offering to say thank you, thank you for doing this thing in my life. I know that there is nothing I can do for You in heaven. But here on earth, I can bring an offering, I can choose to be a blessing, I can choose to take the responsibility for something in the house of God, just to say Thank You. Every opportunity to give in the house of God is an opportunity to show the Lord our gratitude.
Jeremiah 33:11 (HCSB)
11 a sound of joy and gladness, the voice of the groom and the bride, and the voice of those saying,
Praise the Lord of Hosts,
for the Lord is good;
His faithful love endures forever
as they bring thank offerings to the temple of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes[a] of the land as in former times, says the Lord…
- True gratitude will break forth in generous giving
We thank Him by giving to others in His name
True gratitude will bring forth generous giving. Another way we express our gratitude to God is by giving to other people. Generosity is a clear expression of gratitude. The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them about the offering they are supposed to collect for the saints. He encourages them to give with a cheerful heart. And then he tells them some really powerful things that show that not only is giving an expression of gratitude, it also provokes other people to gratitude. What we do to and for others can have such a positive impact on others that they give thanks to God.
2 Cor 9:12
7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 9 As it is written:
He gave to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.[e]
10 Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. 13 They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. 14 And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
Powerful stuff, you give to others, God enriches you further so you have your needs met and abundance to be even more generous. Your giving will ‘overflow in many acts of thanksgiving to God. Your gratitude is thus multiplied. God provides for people through people. So if we’re grateful to God, we will let him provide for people through us. We will make ourselves available to him for whatever service he requires, and that service could be giving, giving to his church, giving to people, giving to solve problems God wants to solve. That service could also be simply serving in the house of God.
We thank Him by serving Him
Gratitude cures us of selfishness and indifference to the things of God. Serving God is a divine commandment. Gratitude makes us do it joyfully. When we are grateful to God, for everything he has done for us, we are looking for ways to serve and advance His cause on the earth. Negligence in our duties in the house of God is proof of ingratitude. We must have a grateful heart. And we express our gratitude to God by serving him. When we love the Lord, His businesses becomes our business. The church is the Father’s business. The winning of souls is the Father’s business. What Jesus came to the earth to die for is the reason for which I live. Otherwise, we would be ungrateful,
We thank Him by living by faith without complaining
The life we have in God is a tremendous gift. Yes, we will have challenges, but if we choose to praise God rather than complain, we are effectively demonstrating our gratitude.