This week we have been looking at four steps that help us to cultivate thanksgiving in our lives. First we discussed the importance of remembering what God has done. Second we talked about proclaiming to others what God has done. Today we are going to look at the third element in cultivating thanksgiving. This third element is demonstrating to others God’s presence in our lives.
When we live our lives in such a way that others notice that we are different we are demonstrating that we are thankful for what God has done for us. When our lives look so markedly different from the culture around us people will wonder why we are different. Then we have the opportunity to share with them how much God has done for us and to express that we live differently because of all that God has done for us.
When we become Christians we are made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Our lives are not to look like the lives of non-Christians. Our lives are to be active demonstrations of what God has done within us.
In the book of Exodus we see how Moses was changed by being in the presence of God. In Exodus 34:29-35 we see that Moses’ face became radiant because he had been in the presence of the Lord. The people made him wear a veil because the radiance of his face was so powerful they didn’t want to look at it. I love the imagery, this is a beautiful picture of how I want God’s influence to impact my life. I want people to look at me and know I have been in the presence of God.
We see in scripture that even nature reflects the glory of God. When God is at work his presence can be noticed and seen. Those who have been in the presence of God can’t help but demonstrate His glory.
The Heavens declare the glory of God,
The skies proclaim the work of his hands,
Day after day they pour forth speech;
Night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech,
They use no words, No sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
Their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
God’s touch is so powerful that his creation can’t help but demonstrate God’s presence and his influence. Nature doesn’t talk, the trees and mountains don’t tell us how God created them, but the very awesomeness of creation itself proclaims what God has been doing. When God has been active in something it is easy to see.
Even the angels in heaven declare how clearly God’s work is demonstrated in nature.
And they were calling to one another
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty
The whole earth is full of his glory
It is important to remember that God has called us as Christians to be different. We are to demonstrate our thankfulness to God by the way we life. God requires us to behave in ways that are much different than those around us. We see this displayed in the punishment that Moses received when he struck the rock rather than speaking to the rock. Moses lost his temper, and God was not pleased by his lack of self-control. God wanted Moses to demonstrate His holiness. Moses instead acted out of anger. (Numbers 20:12) Moses paid a high price for his lack of self-control. This should stand out as a warning for us. God requires us to demonstrate His holiness to the world around us, when we don’t we tarnish God’s reputation.
When we live our lives in a way that expresses our thankfulness to God for his work in our lives we are demonstrating thanksgiving for what God has done. Just as nature can’t help but demonstrate God’s work on them, and as Moses couldn’t help that his face was radiant, our lives should demonstrate freely and fully God’s presence in our lives.
Are you demonstrating your thankfulness to God by the way you live? Are you reflecting God’s radiance to the people around you?
Note: This blogs post references scripture verses taken from the following sources:
1. NIV Life Application Study Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan and Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2011 Print.
2. NLT Bible, Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc; 1996 Print.