Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The Doctrine Of Thanksgiving
Paul’s letter to the saints at Philippi is filled with strong appeal to live full lives of joy, peace, and confidence in their eternal hope. Philippians is an encouraging book written when the people of God were undergoing grave challenges to their faith. Paul was imprisoned for his faith in Jesus Christ, as were many others in the Roman world. Materialism encroached on the lives of the Christians with the temptation of the carnal flesh. The city of Philippi was known as a miniature Rome, a proud Roman colony enjoying the favor of the Roman government that exempted the city from paying taxes. Writing to the saints in Philippi, Paul exhorted them to rejoice in Christ and not allow the world’s temptations to move their faith.
Thanksgiving is seldom viewed as a matter of doctrine but the spirit of a thankful heart derives its character from knowing and understanding where all blessings come. It is easy to look at Thanksgiving purely from an emotional standpoint. Paul writes to the saints not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. He wants to remind the Christians that all blessings come from God and they should tell God what they need and thank Him for all he has done. This is the doctrine of thanksgiving when the heart of a man looks at the kind mercies of God throughout time and sees that God never lies and He always cares for His children. The Bible is a revelation of the mercies of the Lord to care for all those who call on His name. Thanksgiving is about doctrine.
Knowledge comes from an examination of truth. The Bible begins with a story of thanksgiving when salvation is promised to man. Noah had much to be thankful for as the Lord delivered his family from destruction. Abraham was a man of great faith as he built his altars to the Lord everywhere he went as a gesture of thanksgiving. Israel became a symbol of the mercies of God from their deliverance, God’s benevolence in the wilderness, conquering Canaan and becoming a nation of the Lord God. The people of Israel had so much to be thankful for. Sadly, the fall of Israel came when they were no longer thankful. Thanksgiving turned to selfishness, arrogance and pride. When the doctrine of thanksgiving was no longer taught to the children to be grateful to God for all blessings, the nation of Israel died.
Thanksgiving is a doctrine that teaches the heart of God’s faithful to trust only in the word of God. The benevolence of the Lord has been demonstrated from time beginning and must remain central to the lives of His saints. Thanksgiving is a time of family, friendship, and probably lots of food. In the midst of the celebration, the doctrine of thanksgiving must be taught that reliance is only on God and Him alone. There is nothing to be anxious about when the heart trusts in the Lord. A thankful heart speaks to the Father seeking His will with prayer and supplication. When the doctrine of thanksgiving finds its way into the soul of a man – peace follows. Thanksgiving rises from the tomb on the third day and His name is Christ Jesus.