Links Daily Devotional

The Winning Attitude, Part 16

In everything give thanks… (1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV)

Sixteen months later and I’m still talking thankfulness. Some of you must be wondering why. I ask myself that.

My answer is that I want to reinforce one of the most important habits I’ve ever made with the hope that others might choose to make a habit out of giving thanks, if they haven’t already. And because I believe that making a habit of giving thanks is one of the greatest gifts a person can ever give themselves.

Giving thanks in everything can become as habitual as brushing one’s teeth. But it can be neglected.

Cicero was one of Greece’s greatest writers and statesman. A contemporary of Julius Caesar, his writings influenced Augustine, Luther, as well as some of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

Adams, the second U.S. President said, “…all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman than Cicero, his authority should have great weight.” And Cicero said, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”

I call it the Winning Attitude. It wins with God, our main Audience. Giving thanks is not for God’s benefit. He has no deficits. It’s for us. An attitude of gratitude wins in golf, because it’s not dependent on one day’s victory which may or may not come.

Giving thanks in everything is the antidote to anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7).

I was taught to “give thanks” in everything by Bill Bright, the founder of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). He was a small man with a huge vision, to introduce Jesus to everyone on earth. In his six or more decades of ministry, he may well have introduced more people to Jesus than any single figure in his time.

Bill taught me many things, but the greatest thing I learned from him was to “give thanks whether a situation seemed hopeless or hopeful. It didn’t matter.” I cannot begin to tell you how much this habit has helped me, but I need to keep relearning it day-by-day. This morning I read an exposition on Psalm 140 by the famed preacher, C. H. Spurgeon. I liked his thoughts about giving thanks so much that I end with them today:

Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence (Psalm 140:13).

Oh, that my heart may be upright, that I may always… bless the name of the Lord! He is so good to those that be good, that I would fain be among them and feel myself full of thankfulness every day.

Perhaps, for a moment, the righteous are staggered when their integrity results in severe trial; but assuredly the day shall come when they shall bless their God that they did not yield to evil suggestions and adopt a shifty policy. In the long run, true men will thank the God of the right for leading them by the right way. Oh that I may be among them!

What a promise is implied in this second clause, “The upright shall dwell in thy presence!” They shall stand accepted where others appear only to be condemned. They shall be the courtiers of the great King, indulged with audience whensoever they desire it. They shall be favored ones upon who Jehovah smiles and with whom He graciously communes.

Lord, I covet this high honor, this precious privilege. It will be heaven on earth to me to enjoy it. Make me in all things upright, that I may today and tomorrow and everyday stand in Thy presence. Then I will give thanks unto Thy name evermore.

Jim Hiskey
May 27, 2014
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