having a thankful and grateful heart

Thanksgiving is a way of life that Christ commands of his followers. This study will explore thanksgiving as the mode through which Christ defeats sin and preserves good through us.

Day 1 of 3

Devotional: Thanksgiving Defeats Sin


  • Philippians 2:12-18
  • Psalms 28:7

Our relationship with God before sin entered the world resembled a posture of upright confidence. We stood without shame before God. All our affections were aimed directly at the Trinity, and we were perfectly fulfilled. When we chose to sin and gave into the belief that God and his commands “are not enough,” the Scripture describes us becoming bent. We no longer aim in posture toward God in full assurance of our identity, but we bend toward the world in an effort to find affirmation and acceptance. This is the way Paul speaks of those who are without Christ; “they are crooked and twisted” (PHI 2:15).

So what is the cure to our crookedness? Philippians 2 tells us how to become blameless, innocent, and without blemish even amidst our sinful desires and world. Paul tells us to “do everything without complaining or disputing.” In other words, be thankful. Paul tells us that our thankfulness will cause us to “shine like stars” amidst “the dark.”

Our world is caught up in entitlement and thus we are ALWAYS discontent. We are just like Adam and Eve in the Garden. We think we deserve to be gods. Thus, we are on an endless quest to captain our own ship, and the reason we are never satisfied, and view all those that stand in the way of our satisfaction as enemies, is because we will not allow ourselves to be happy until we have it all. As a result, we are bound in discontent. Wallowing in our own pride. We are chasing shadows.

Thanksgiving is a lifestyle! If you’re struggling with sin in any fashion today, it’s a worship (thanksgiving) problem. You are worshipping yourself, someone, or something over and above God, and the only way to defeat sin is to transfer your worship. This is what thankfulness does. It takes your focus off your deceptive need and places your gaze upon the King.

We would like to thank Garden City for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

Day 2 of 3

Devotional: Thanksgiving Preserves Good


  • James 4:1-2
  • 1 Timothy 4:1-4

Have you ever wondered why there is so much “bad” in the world? James in so many words ponders this same conundrum in his book. In James 4:1-2 he answers our question: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

James blames you and me. We, like Adam and Eve, just can’t stand the thought of anyone sitting on the throne of our lives except us. Anyone who threatens our view of the good life is perceived as a threat to our existence. All this fighting for our “rights” originates in our sin nature. The tragic truth is that though we sport the slogan that we “know what’s best for us,” we in all reality do not. Our pursuit of our desires only causes us to kill each other, hate each other, compete with one another, and enslave one another in the service of the “King of ‘I’.”

As you read James’ words today, consider the conflicts in your life, and instead of looking at them with a victim mentality, consider how you’ve contributed your selfish mentality. Consider also the words of Timothy as you study. He is going to note in essence the same thing as James, but he’s going to take it one step further. Not only do our desires seek to “get what they want,” but then we start trying to lord our wants over others. We start to create laws, judgments, and stipulations for people so that they will fit into our ways. This is called religion.

Timothy is not trying to free us up to do whatever we want in the name of thanksgiving, but by thanking the right object—in all cases, God the Creator—we protect ourselves from ourselves. In this study today, consider how thankfulness brings “you” under control, and causes you to begin putting things, people, and circumstances into their proper place. Everything is used rightly when we honor God through thankfulness.

Publisher: We would like to thank Garden City for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

Day 3 of 3

Devotional: Thanksgiving Is a Command


  • Philippians 1:3-11
  • Philippians 4:1-9
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Don’t you find it curious when reading Philippians that Paul, while in prison and under the threat of death, commands us to “rejoice”? Not only does Paul in his dire circumstances tell us to rejoice, he says that feeling thankful is “right.” Now hold on … don’t we feel that depression, negativity, pessimism, and straightforward acts of defiance, are plain responses of justice to an event such as imprisonment? I would have to say I do. If I was Paul, and in prison, I would think the appropriate response to the situation would be despair, anger, and a well-timed temper tantrum. Yet Paul, in Philippians 1:3-11, spends his moments and days remembering the believers in Philippi, and instead of pitying himself, he cannot stop thanking God—and he “says it’s right for him to feel this way.”

As you read today, consider God’s command to “rejoice” and be thankful. It’s not a request as if God were pleading with you. He’s commanding you to do it because it’s right, and he knows that if you obey, you will reap the ripe fruits of experiencing his presence and enjoying his peace and contentment.

Also, as you read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 consider the audacity of God to sum up his will for your life through one word, “thankfulness.” Many of you reading today are asking “what is God’s will for you?” Lucky for you, God tells you. His will is for you to be thankful. He never promised you the job, the education, the spouse, the marriage, the kids, the church, the city, or the circumstance of your dreams. All God asks, is that in whatever situation, and wherever you find yourself, that you stay thankful. Not only is this command a benefit to you, but it keeps you centered on the person of Jesus. When we think upon God and all he is, there’s no other right response than to be thankful (PSA 106:1).

Publisher: We would like to thank Garden City for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: