An epidemic of pessimism, anxiety and hopelessness has erupted in the United States and beyond. This is par for the course for any sociological system that is not built upon being thankful to our Creator.
Romans 1:21 teaches that being unthankful is the cornerstone sin of all other sins, with a trajectory that leads to covetousness, worshipping creatures more than God, all sexual sins including homosexuality, pride, gossip, and all kinds of malice. These eventually lead to full-scale rebellion against God (Romans 1:21-33).
In essence, praising God is good (Psalm 92:1). This is not just because it makes us feel closer to God but perhaps the most countercultural thing we can do to show our resistance against Satan’s kingdom. A kingdom that is steeped in insurrection against the Lordship of Christ and against the mandate to live a life of worship.
The following are some negative consequences of living unthankful lives:
1. We will not be able to see the divine opportunities in front of us
God has already provided for all of our needs (Ephesians 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3-4). Praise takes the veil off our eyes and turns on the switch of faith. It gives us insight that enables us to see all the hidden opportunities masked by problems and challenging circumstances.
2. We will focus on the actions of people instead of the processes of God
When we are unthankful, we magnify other people's actions, activities and circumstances for or against us. We then weigh our lives based on their responses, which inadvertently saps our faith in God!
3. We will long more for pleasant circumstances than being satisfied with God alone
When we are constantly complaining, we are essentially saying that God is not enough to satisfy us. This is unlike David, who said that the Lord was His portion, cup, and inheritance (Psalm 16).
4. We will give place to the devil who operates in lust, greed, and pride
Satan’s original sin was pride, which led to him not being thankful for his place as a covering cherub (Isaiah 14:12-14). This led him to covet the throne of God, which resulted in him being thrown out of Heaven. Since the beginning of the world, Satan has been the father of greed, covetousness, and complaining. We give a place to him in our hearts when we are not grateful for the things God has already given us.
5. We will repel key people around us
When we are not living lives of praise to God, we will not be grateful for the key people God has put in our lives. This leads to accentuating negative aspects about these people in our minds. This results in us repelling them by our negative speaking and communication towards them. Negativity will also exude the wrong spirit in our homes. It will nurture families who are ungrateful towards one another and even towards God.
6. We will repel the presence of God within us
The psalms teach us that God dwells in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). This also can be reversed: when we don’t have an attitude of thanksgiving towards God, we can repel His presence within us. This grieves His Spirit and hurts our ability to fellowship intimately with Him.
7. God cannot trust us with more blessings
I learned a long time ago that God will multiply the things in my life that I am most grateful for. He will not trust me with whatever I am not thankful for because I don’t appreciate it. David blessed the Lord with all that was within him. This led him to continually recount all the blessings of the Lord that continued to multiply in his life (Psalm 103).
8. We will suffer continual discouragement and even depression
If we are not continually and intentionally ordering our minds to think on the good things of God, we will not enjoy the peace of God in these troubled times (Philippians 4:8-9). This can lead to discouragement and severe depression. The greatest tool in fighting depression is not medication but worshipping the Creator and being thankful to Him for every good thing He has given us from above (James 1:17).
9. We will miss our greatest purpose in life: to love and worship God
The Westminster Catechism begins by stating that our highest purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Revelation teaches us that in Heaven, the elders and angelic beings are continually worshipping our Creator. One of the things they say is, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:10-11).
As Christians, we are mandated to live lives of praise and thanksgiving. This is the most countercultural thing to strip the devil of his power over our families and us. Thankfulness will reveal the vast opportunities God has already given us so we can walk in His kingdom's purposes.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition