The words “praise” and “thanksgiving” are well known in our communities. They are so prominent that even the godless yearn to use them to show their humility and gentleness. Every child is taught from his or her childhood how to be humble and be thankful. It is a reasonable act to praise or appreciate somebody who has done a good deed to us. No one wants a person who at least does not say a word of thanks in return for what he or she has received. If there are such, they are vindicated as arrogant.
Arrogance is one word that does not suit the Christian or godly community. It is one quality God hates, because all authority belongs to Him! If there is one asset that we Christians should possess, it is certainly not arrogance, but thankfulness in humility. There are many who like to receive but are unwilling to be thankful. An arrogant man can never praise God, but only a man of humble heart. Such humble hearts become evident, because God does great deeds among those who accepted His position. When can a man accept God’s position? How do we experience God to praise Him and be thankful to Him? A man after God’s own heart once said, “I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps.13:6).
It appears by evidence that the manner by which God’s bountiful deeds work upon His people have not been understood. How does one quantify God’s abundant dealings upon His people? Is it with the wealth we have? However, to the many it has become the way. Is it by the fame that we possess among the living? This is what most of us desire. On the other hand, can the works done for the fear of men or in foolishness, jealousy, evil thoughts and greediness help us in receiving God’s grace? If such ways are our means to be on God’s side, His bountiful deeds have certainly diminished upon us; we simply are not yet extinct, because even the sun shines and the rain falls on the unrighteous. “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, ‘all is vanity!’” (Eccl. 12:8). O how mankind is being deceived! Working the works of impurity is inviting disgrace upon us.
In vain we are worshipping God and are unable to understand the disastrous consequences of it. Why do those who profess to know God proceed in this manner? Is it because they do not understand His works among the people? Truly, they do not understand, because they do not watchfully receive the word He speaks. If this is the case how can one even dare to expect God’s abundant deeds toward him? Does it not seem uncivilized? “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?’ declares the LORD” (Jer. 35:13). It is evident that one must receive His instruction by listening to His words to be dealt bountifully by Him; or else, who can escape His mighty hand?
It takes a convicting heart to obey the Lord and to understand His schemes. People that merely study the Word and relate passages to understand God will only lead others into confusion. If they begin to preach the gospel, it ends up being vanity! They add and subtract to what has already been given. People of the old knew God and even experienced His Spirit. However, their arrogance made them to lose the conviction of heart and they could not praise God for all He has done for them. For this reason the Spirit warns us saying, “The LORD was very angry with your fathers” (Zech. 1:2). For what reason was the Lord angry? In course of time, they forgot to praise God. They began to make laws according to men and neglected the Lord almighty that brought them from the land of Egypt. Are not many of us these days similar to the people of the old? Many today follow the Lord with selfish motives and with a dubious mind call themselves Christians.
God rejoices in those who are pure. To them He gives His helping hand against all foes and tribulations, because such have separated themselves from all impurity to honor Him. To those who are impure everything appears impure. Every work they do involves impurity and every good deed they glance at seems impure. Nevertheless, God desires that His children ought not to be the dead, but the living. In order to live one has to forsake sin and forsaking sin involves repentance; concerning such person God surely rejoices, because He has found him by His grace. “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:32).
Sin easily entraps us, because it seems so amusing to our eyes; but to escape it is like scaling a huge mountain. It is not easy to experience God in one’s life. It becomes possible only when God removes such mountains from our life. Dear brethren, to live a perfect life it requires we ought to obey every word spoken by our Lord Jesus. We know that there is no one righteous, but the Lord in our midst can mold us into His righteous people. This takes sacrifice on our part. “Moses said, ‘the Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you” (Acts 3:22).
It is a must that we ought to give regard to every word that Jesus spoke in order to obtain that crown of righteousness we so eagerly desire. We desire it so much that if it is sold in the market we would buy it. However, it cannot be bought, it is to be given! Not one word spoken by Jesus will perish and not one word He spoke should be left out by us. By exercising such attentiveness we fight the unseen war that qualifies us to a visible victory, which the godless can only yearn. This victory becomes the gospel, the power of God, to all who want to believe. It is the result of God’s bountiful dealings upon us and therefore, we will never be forgetful in praising Him. For this reason the apostle Paul said, “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).