A Spirit of Thanksgiving




Learning to live in a spirit of thanksgiving will transform one’s life. The first thing it will do, and perhaps the most important thing, is one’s focus on self will transfer to focus upon the one to whom thanks is being given. Thanksgiving also promotes a level of humility within a person.


There are basically three levels to this process.

  • Focus on self with realization of something that is a blessing
    • We must first realize the blessings we have
  • Focus shifts to the person involved, if there is someone, in providing the blessing
    • The blessing being material, emotional, spiritual, etc.
  • Focus shifts to God as the provider of all good things, all blessings
    • God is the creator of all things, seen and unseen, and our provider of all we need as well as the desires of our heart


We are instructed to give thanks for all things, including the benefits of being in a relationship with God, our circumstances in life, the love of God for us, and more. In walking with God, we are instructed to keep our focus on things above, which helps us to maintain a proper outlook on our life, calling, and purpose.


King David, and other authors of the Psalms, seemed to value the spirit of thanksgiving and made it a point to instruct his soul to give thanks and to bless the LORD.



Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,


Psalms 103:2 ESV



To bless the LORD is to humble oneself in recognition of Yahweh.


Bless is Strong’s Hebrew #1288, barak. It is a verb, so it is an action one would undertake. The definition is to kneel, bless.


To kneel is an act of humbling oneself and presenting oneself as vulnerable. To kneel, or genuflect before a king would be to be humble and to be vulnerable before him, even to being beheaded if found unworthy to be in his presence as one bowed the head before the king.


We are blessing, or humbling ourselves, before the LORD, Yahweh, God Almighty. He alone holds the power over life and death. This is where reverence and awe come into play.


David is instructing his soul, throughout this Psalm, to recognize the LORD in all His majesty. Is he simply reminding himself to act properly before God, or is his spirit instructing his soul? We must remember a few things:

  • God is the creator of all things seen and unseen
    • We are His
  • God the Father, sent the Son, to redeem us
    • We are His
  • If we are children of God, we have surrendered ourselves to Him
    • We are His
  • Due to who God is, He is worthy of reverence and awe in our sight
    • We serve Him
  • He created us with spirit, soul, and body
    • We are to rule with our spirit over our soul and body
      • Spirit – our innermost being, including our heart
      • Soul – mind, will, and emotions
      • Body – our flesh and bone and all its parts
  • He sent Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth: guide, comforter, etc.
    • Our spirit ought to be in tune with the leading of Holy Spirit


I believe David was taking authority over his complete self, instructing it to be mindful to have reverence and awe toward God. This may be seen in verse 1 as he expands the command to “all that is within me.”.



Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!


Psalms 103:1 ESV



This is for thanksgiving, the reason he says to “forget not all His benefits.” The reason for remembering the benefits is to give thanks to God for them. The first definition for benefit in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is:

  • 1a: something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being: Advantage
  • 1b: useful aid: Help

As we saw in episode 30, Who God Says He Is, the names of God represent who He is and what He wants to be for us. In other words, His benefits to us, His children. Hence, in verse 1 David says to “bless His holy name!” In reciting the names of God and the meanings of the names we do two things:

  • We remember who He is, and glorify Him as we do so
  • We remember what He wants to be to us, which does two things:
    • Causes us to be thankful to and for Him
    • Causes our faith to grow as we learn to trust and depend upon Him

Th remainder of the Psalm give the reasons for blessing the LORD, but for our purposes here, verses 3-5 tell us why we are to be thankful.



Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, Who satisfies you with good so that your
youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Psalms 103:3-5 ESV



Remember, this is the Word of God, Scripture. We have a choice whether we want to believe the Word of God, or believe others, traditions of man, our circumstances, or whatever else. The only way to move into a deeper relationship with God and to realize all His benefits with which He desires to bless us, is to believe His Word above all else. Paul writes of this in his letter to the believers at Rome, Romans.



What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in
your words, and prevail when you are judged.”


Romans 3:3-4 ESV



Do you want to be secure in your day of judgment? Use the Word of God to determine all truth, live by that Word, and teach that Word. If your words are His Word, I believe you will be found righteous at your time of judgment.


Another thing to remember about the Word of God, it is Jesus. We saw this in episode 33, Communion and Study.



In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


John 1:1-2, 14 ESV



Obey and live by the words of Christ Jesus, the Son. He is the Word of the Father and all that the Father represents. (Remember all those names?)



For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.


Colossians 1:19-20 ESV



Those verses would be the beginning of an excellent study.


That would be enough to encourage us to walk in a spirit of thanksgiving, but we need to make it a core part of our life in Christ. How do we do that? As we spend time in Scripture, we see examples of people doing so. For example, Paul wrote of this to the Ekklesia at Ephesus.



but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to
God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.


Ephesians 5:18b-21 ESV



These verses could ignite another independent study. I see three things here to set the stage, the act of living in a spirit of thanksgiving, and a result of doing so.


We are put into the right headspace to continuously be thankful when we:

  • Are filled with the Spirit
    • Allowing Holy Spirit to direct our steps
  • Share with one another songs concerning the things of God
    • Music soothes the soul
    • The things of God give us reason to be thankful
  • We are joyful in our hearts toward God
    • An attitude in our most inner being


Paul instructs us to give thanks.

  • Always, at all times, ever
  • For everything, all, the whole, every kind of
  • To God the Father
    • All that the Son does is to glorify the Father
  • In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
    • The name of: His authority and position
      • We will look at this closer in 2 weeks in episode 36, Trinity Part One – The Name of Jesus, scheduled to air on December 5.


One result of living with such an attitude, a spirit of thanksgiving, is we fulfill the commandments of Christ Jesus, including, to love one another.

  • Submitting ourselves to one another
    • Or seeing others as more significant than ourselves
    • An act of humble service in the love of God
    • Having the same mind, the same love, in one accord
      • Phillipians 2:1-5


Paul reiterates this thought to the believers at Thessalonica. He takes it a step farther than in his letter to Ephesus. Are you still wondering what the will of God is for you?



Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV



Paul says to “give thanks in all circumstances” in this translation. Notice it doesn’t say “for” the circumstances. We are not to let our circumstances dictate our spirit of thanksgiving. The interlinear translation says “in everything give thanks” which reads a little different.



  • Strong’s Greek #1722, en
  • Definition: in, on, at, by, with
  • Usage: in, on, among


  • Strong’s Greek #3956, pas
  • Definition: all, every
  • Usage: all, the whole, every kind of

Give Thanks:

  • Strong’s Greek #2168, eucharisteo
  • Definition: to be thankful
  • Usage: I thank, give thanks


Study that as you will, but I think it is clear that we are to be thankful, and not on occasion, but as an essential part of the Christian life.


James reminds us of the source of our blessings.



Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to
change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.


James 1:16-18 ESV



All things are from God, and it is His good pleasure to provide for us all that we have need of. Ought we not walk in a spirit of thanksgiving to Him?