Doxology is a fancy word that means praising God. More specifically, doxology means a liturgical expression of praise. You may recognize the word from singing the doxology in your worship service on Sundays. If you are unfamiliar with The Doxology, the lyrics are as follows.
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The doxology is an expression of gratitude for the many blessings that God has given to us. Gratitude is the demonstration of thankfulness and appreciation for kindness received. Christians believe that God is good and that he pours out blessings upon us each and every day. Sometimes those blessings are easily recognized. Other times, the blessings can be harder to see. Our gratitude is our response to the kindness and love of God when the blessings are both seen and unseen. Since it can be difficult to remember our blessings, it takes intentional effort on our part to live in doxology and to mindful to recognize our blessings.
Because we are blessed people, an expression of gratitude needs to happen more than on Sunday mornings. It should be a way of life for us. We should praise God regularly by sharing our thankfulness with God and others. We live in doxology by expressing our gratitude whenever we have the opportunity. Christians need to move away from the notion that praising God only happens on Sunday morning. Giving thanks needs to happen between Sundays.
We are about to celebrate Thanksgiving in a couple of months. Since we are nearing the holiday, thankfulness and gratitude are on our minds. There is much to be thankful for. Many of the psalms remind us that God is our salvation, our rock, our deliverer, our shield, and so on. We can be thankful for friends, family, children, spouses, and other meaningful relationships. Similarly, we can be thankful for food, shelter, breath, and other elements of God's provision. We can thank God for our church family, mentors, not to mention a loving pastor. The list of things worthy of our gratitude to God is virtually endless. Therefore, our desire to praise God should be equally endless. If it isn't, ask God to give you a heart full of gratitude.
God is Faithful:
There are a variety of ways to show our gratitude. We can show others the same kind of love that God shows us. We can also tell our story of God's faithfulness to others. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16 that we should be, "singing to God with gratitude in your hearts". In Colossians 3:17, Paul reminds us that everything we do should be done in the name of Jesus, with thanksgiving in our hearts when he says, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
There are a variety of different ways we can and should express our gratitude. It is both an individual and a corporate practice. Therefore, there needs to be both a private and communal witness to God's faithfulness to us that should take place in our lives.
It is also important to remember that being thankful is part of God's will for our lives.
“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
Along with doing good to everyone, rejoicing always, and continued prayer, giving thanks is part of God's will for our lives. It is a vital part of maturing in the faith. Furthermore, an expression of gratitude is a sign that your faith is growing. Because we know that we are to "give thanks in all circumstances", we know that it is God's will for our lives to reflect the gratitude that we have in our hearts.
For example, one of the ways that I practice gratitude in my life way is through the use of a twenty-sided die. I have a large die that has twenty different numbered sides to it. A few times a week, I will grab the die and put my thumb on number one. Then, I will say one thing I am thankful for and then move on to number two. After that, I will go through each number until I have listed twenty things I am thankful for. You can use any dice that you have around the house. You can use anything that helps you keep track. My daughter uses 20 stickers on one of her toys to help her count praises. For me, the die is simply a tool to help me to stay focused and intentional about offering my thanks to God.
Questions for Reflection:
With all of this in mind, here are a few reflection questions for you to ponder.
- What are you grateful for today?
- What blessings do you see God's hand in?
- How are you demonstrating your gratefulness to God and to others?
Lord, give us a heart full of gratitude for the many blessing that we have. Help us when it is difficult to see your goodness in difficult circumstances. Amen.