An audio version of my blog post is above via soundcloud, for those who prefer listening 🙂
When do you call on God? What are the things, situations or circumstances that move you to reach out to God – or to even acknowledge His existence and sovereignty?
When I asked this question via a twitter poll, most people said that they are more likely to call on God if something bad happens as opposed to when something good happens.
(A bit of Psychology research methods evaluation – this question is a form of self-report, this means that answers are subject to what psychologists call, the social-desirability bias. People always want to present themselves in a positive light or a socially desirable way, so answers may not be 100% truthful despite being anonymous. Finally, it is a closed question, as it required a ‘forced’ choice which limits one’s answer. Some individuals would have wished to elaborate and give greater detail in their answers – some did, with extra tweets explaining their choice.)
Now this isn’t a terrible thing, but I’ve noticed for myself and the youths that I mentor, that one can get into a place of simply associating God with the bad. We’ve heard incredible teachings on the scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, ‘ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’, but I’m sure that I am not the only one who has noticed that whenever this scripture is shared, the focus is usually on thanking God in the bad, tough and challenging times . It’s like we’ve forgotten to share that it is equally important to thank God in good situations.
So in our minds, God is a our ‘go to’ when things go wrong. However, when things go right, we sometimes forget God in the good. Oftentimes, when things go well all we do is breathe a sigh of relief. We’re happy and in that moment of self-entitlement, we forget that God IS good – He is in the good things, because goodness is His undeniable nature – ‘and every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…’ (James 1:17, KJV).
…And so we forget to give thanks to Him in those little ‘good’ moments. We’re okay thanking Him on a Sunday, after all it is the Christian norm…but I challenge you as I challenge myself to give thanks to God each time something goes well.
In my study of psychology, saying “thank you” is mostly an emotional act, as it connects one person to another. Moreover, saying “thank you” doesn’t just acknowledge someone’s action, effort, thoughtfulness, or intent. It acknowledges the person him/herself. Saying a heartfelt “thank you”feels great. Not just to the person receiving it, but also to the person offering it (Grant & Gino, 2010). With this in mind, when we say “thank you” to God, we do not only appreciate the good thing, but we appreciate God Himself, we acknowledge Our Father and childishly say ‘Hey Abba, I see what you did there’ (something I do all the time lool). The quote from Rick Warren below illustrates just how thanking God causes us to feel great.
“God smiles when we praise and thank Him continually. Few things feel better than receiving heartfelt praise and appreciation from someone else. God loves it, too. … An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God. When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy.” – Rick Warren
Always giving thanks in the good and bad is not an ‘extra Christian chore’. It is the very culture of the Kingdom that we say we are citizens of. It shows the world that we are heaven-minded, not weighted by the pessimism and discontentment constantly spewed at us in these secular environments. Let us strive to be people who value the attitude and culture of giving thanks above the mere act of thanksgiving – in simply saying ‘thank you’. Our thanksgiving and appreciation for God in the good times, should be more than words, our hearts should prostrate before Him – enriched by both the knowledge of His word and confidence in what His word says about thanksgiving.
O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 107:1
Pay attention to God’s goodness throughout your day, notice the things that go right and give thanks to the Lord for He IS Good. My prayer for you and I, is that we will see God’s goodness in our lives. We will know that God is taking care of us and that He is concerned about every detail of our lives. May we thank Him with prostrated hearts for all the good things and trust Him like children to handle the seemingly impossible things.
Thank you to those who responded to the twitter poll – y’all are awesome! Thank You for reading and have an amazing week of thanksgiving!
Grant, A. M., & Gino, F. (2010). A little thanks goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior. Journal of personality and social psychology, 98(6), 946.