Enter his gates with thanksgiving. (Psalm 100:4)
The distance of God is an all-too-common malady among believers. It isn’t that God is really distant, but we go through waves of feeling that He is. Sometimes the waves are prolonged—circumstances batter us, discouragement plagues us, and God seems far, far away.
God’s prescription for entering His presence is to give thanks. This verse doesn’t just tell us the right attitude with which we are go enter His gates; it also tells us the means by which we enter them. Thanksgiving coupled with praise will bring us to where He is; or it will bring Him to where we are. Either way, we find that worshipful gratitude is the right place to be. God lives where He is acknowledged.
If God does not seem to be living near you, perhaps there is something lacking in your acknowledgment. You rarely see gratitude in someone who thinks negatively about life. Why? Pessimistic thoughts remove the glory of His presence. Negative thinking is not faith; it is the antithesis of reality from God’s point of view. Reality, as He defines it, is all about who He is and what He does. Negativity isn’t. It assumes the worst. It feeds—and is fed by—the enemy of God.
Thanksgiving coupled with praise will bring us to where He is; or it will bring Him to where we are. Either way, we find that worshipful gratitude is the right place to be.
Paul told believers to give thanks in every circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He didn’t tell them to give thanks only when the clear evidence of God’s blessing is visible. He told them to give thanks always—in every situation. How can we do this? On the basis of who God is. If we always see the downside, we are doubting something about God—that He is good, or able, or wise. But if we know that he is good, and that He is sovereign, and that He is wise, we can give thanks that He is working out His plan even in the difficult circumstances of life.
Establish in your mind a discipline of thanks. Enumerate every aspect of your life and thank God for it. In every circumstance, choose to see it from an angle that will cultivate gratitude. God will be honored. And His presence will be real.
A life of thankfulness releases the glory of God. — Bengt Sundberg
READ: Psalm 100
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