As we have seen, thankfulness is a direct command of Scripture and an indispensable mark of being filled with the Holy Spirit. These facts lead to two practical conclusions that apply to each of us personally: first, an unthankful Christian is disobedient; second, an unthankful Christian is not full of the Holy Spirit.
Thanksgiving is also a requirement for entering God’s presence, as we read in Psalm 100:4–5: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations” (nasb). Two essential stages in our approach to God are entering the gates with thanksgiving and entering the courts with praise.
Again, the psalmist also gave three specific reasons that we should thank God. First, “the Lord is good”; second, “His lovingkindness is everlasting”; and, third, “His faithfulness [is] to all generations.” Each of these is permanent and unchanging. God is always good; His lovingkindness is everlasting; His faithfulness is to all generations. The primary reasons for giving thanks to God never depend on our feelings or circumstances. We may feel up one day, down the next; sometimes we are encouraged, other times discouraged. But there is no reason to change our attitude of thankfulness to God.
In order to approach God on the basis of these three eternal facts, we need to change our focus. We need to look away from things that irritate, discourage, or provoke us, looking instead at the eternal things, which we see through eyes of faith. When we come to God with the right focus, we are in a position to hear from God and to receive from Him.