One of the most commonly repeated commands in the Bible is to give thanks, not just on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Gratitude should be shown to the Lord much more often than we are reminded or commanded. It should be an instinct to thank God for throughout your day or your week when you feel appreciative for all that you have. This does not mean that we are bad people; it just shows that we may need to readjust our focus on more important things.
Too often, we go about our days focusing on situations that we cannot control, disappointments, or frustrations going on in our professional or personal lives, memories of sadness or anger, the envy of others, and much more. These thoughts should not be taking up room in our minds, but we naturally let them. They envoke feelings and keep our minds entertained, even if not for the right reasons. This is why we are reminded in reading the Bible to give thanks to the Lord.
However, if we would be inclined to naturally give thanks more often, even when we are not commanded to do so, we may find that our minds start to attend to the good in our lives, rather than to dwell on the negative thoughts. Giving thanks provides us with a feeling of hope and joy, something that many find admirable in others and yearn to feel themselves. It is a practice that can benefit your mindset.
The intent of gratitude can also be misconstrued. Gratitude should not be given to God as reasoning to continue to follow Him. Gratitude is not meant to correlate to obedience to the Lord. Christian obedience is obedience to your faith, not to give thanks. Rather than thanking God for what he has done, expecting it to reaffirm your faith, you should believe in all that he can do yet. Gratitude is no substitute for grace and faith.
This is not to say that gratitude and faith do not coincide with each other. The two emotions are very different and carry varying connotations, but they can be used to enhance one another. Thankfulness is used to show gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done. Faith is used for trusting and obeying the Lord for all that comes your way in the future. This holiday season and moving into the new year, be intentional about giving thanks more often and continue your faith in God for what lies ahead.