SUNDAY SERMON: Why give thanks
*How do you have access to God?
1Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” It is the will of God.
1Chronicles 16:34, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” God is worthy of it.
These two are sufficient reasons to give thanks to God.
The issue of thanksgiving was so important that King David, himself a worshipper, specially selected people to continually give thanks unto God. 1Chronicles 16:41, (NIV) “With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the LORD, “for his love endures forever.”
Let us look at gratitude from a broader sense. A note from Harvard Medical School says, Gratitude, from the Latin for gratia, which means grace or thankfulness (depending on context), is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, as well as better physical and mental health. It says “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships,” researchers write.
Let me share with you 7 Benefits of Gratitude
- Gratitude gives you access. Psalm 100:4, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Everyone wants God’s attention but He does not give it to everyone. Everyone wants access to the throne of God but everyone is not admitted into his presence; only those who are genuinely grateful from their hearts! The interesting thing is that it does not depend on God; it depends on us.
One of the most important keys to success is access.
7 Benefits of access
- Access determines who you can reach.
- Access determines the kind of help you can get especially in the time of need. Hebrew 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” A woman sought access to Jesus; she got healed of 12 years of bleeding. Four friends carried a crippled friend of theirs in desperate attempt to get into the presence of Jesus. They had to tear the roof because they understood the value of gaining access into his presence. They were proved right: the man got healed. As you give thanks to God today, God will give you all the help you need, in Jesus name.
- Access determines what you know. Just imagine the wisest person in the universe teaching you! There are things you learn in the presence of God that you cannot learn anywhere else. Access is admission. Until you gain admission into a university for instance, you cannot easily acquire university education. You acquire wisdom if you have access to a wise person.
- What you can possess and how much you can possess.
- It determines your living standard. Access to God determines your overall wellbeing. Psalm 16:11. Your wellbeing is determined by who you have access to. Some people stay all day the presence of people who cannot change their lives positively and wonder why they are not fulfilled.
- Access into his presence gives you victory. Psalm 9:3, “When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.”
- Access gives you rest. Exodus 33:14, “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
How do you have access to God?
Two things give us access to the throne of God.
- The blood of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…”
- To have access to the throne of grace, gratitude is a fundamental requirement. Until you are grateful for what God has done, you have no right to come before him and ask for more. God is the wisest being in the universe. Even the blood of Jesus is applied through thanks.
Worship is the key that throws the gates of heaven open to an individual. Ungrateful people languish outside of the gate of heaven in abject poverty. Deuteronomy 28:47-48. From today, don’t miss the praise and worship session of any Service.
- Gratitude gives you more. Psalm 67:5-7. An ungrateful person is always broke. Recently we met a man who said that he does not know how to thank people no matter how much good they do to him. He’s been broke for nearly all his life! Hannah gave thanks to God for one child, she got five more.
- Gratitude creates favour. Acts 2:47, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Gratitude endears you to people. A grateful person will always have friends. An ungrateful person scares people away.
- Gratitude improves your health and wellbeing. Grateful people are more hopeful and healthier. Like many other studies, a 2015 paper in the Journal of Religion and Health found that those who were more grateful for who they are and what they have were more hopeful and also physically healthier. Psychology Today cites several studies that found people who report being more grateful also report feeling fewer aches and pains, and are more likely to go to the doctor and take care of themselves. Those who are feeling better tend to be more thankful. But this is not always the case.
Dozens of studies have shown that when people actively take the time to list the things they are grateful for, they feel better mentally and physically than participants who haven’t done the same.
In other words, gratitude’s benefits are not only correlational, but in some cases causal. Gratitude can act “directly, as a causal agent of well-being; and indirectly, as a means of buffering against negative states and emotions,” reads a 2009 paper in Counselling Psychology Review.
- Improved sleep quality. Gratitude gives you peace. Something as simple as writing down a list of things you are thankful for at the end of the day can also help people sleep better. A 2009 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that those who expressed gratitude more often slept better and longer than those who didn’t. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
- Increased self-esteem. A 2014 paper in the Journal of Applied Sports Psychology found that athletes who expressed more gratitude toward their coaches and also in general had higher self-esteem two and six months later compared to those who weren’t as openly thankful.
- Increased helpfulness and empathy. One 2006 study in the journal Psychological Science found that those who expressed more gratitude were also more likely to help out others. So “pro-social” behaviors are in turn linked to greater happiness.
Empathy also apparently increases when people are thankful. A 2012 paper in Social Psychology and Personality Science found that higher levels of gratitude were linked to greater empathy and lowered aggression. “Gratitude motivates people to express sensitivity and concern for others,” the researchers wrote.
Thanksgiving should not be undertaken only at specific times of the year only, but it should be a lifestyle. Have a prosperous week and second half of the year, in Jesus name!!