Giving thanks to the Father Who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:12—NIV)

You do not have to celebrate too many Thanksgivings in your life before you realize that a thankful heart promotes many benefits both to your fellow man and to yourself. By the same token, an unthankful heart feeds and strengthens the old nature encouraging such vices as arrogance, pride, selfishness, self-centeredness, practical atheism, greed, and hatred, to name a few of the felons in the rogue’s gallery of total depravity.

As all disciple-makers know, thankfulness should be modeled, taught, explained and encouraged. They further know that the outward expressions of thankfulness stem from a changed and enlightened heart. The fullest expression of thanksgiving is realized in the heart of the believer beginning at regeneration. A new heart beating with an awareness of personal unworthiness to merit the very least of the grace of God will demonstrate the superlative qualities of a reborn life.

The apostle Paul is telling the Colossian church how he is praying for them. He is praying for maturity in their spiritual growth. This maturity has four manifestations. He begs God that they would be fruitful in every good work, that they would increase in the knowledge of God, that they will be strengthened by God’s power to endure adverse circumstances and people joyfully, and finally, that they would give thanks to God.

This believer’s thanksgiving revises the Christian’s perspective from daily necessities of spiritual obedience and service to the vantage point of the work of God. He has qualified the Christian to saintly inheritance, redeemed him from bondage to sin, given the saint a new citizenship and turned the believer’s attention to the object of faith — the very Son of God.

Throughout my experience as a Christian, a father and as a pastor I have observed that someone’s status of godly maturity is intact when a thankful heart is evident. When thankfulness is absent the person is operating at a spiritual deficit. It may be they are not saved, or they are living with unconfessed sin, or the cares of this life have choked out the good seed of the Word of God. Cultivate the soil of your heart to bring forth a healthy crop of thanksgiving the whole year through!