Why Giving Thanks isn’t Always Enough

No matter where you find yourself, we all have a lot to be thankful to The Lord for. But just saying thank you isn’t enough. It has to be backed up by action. Today, I’m sharing the teaching that Paul gives about grace and what it has to do with giving thanks!

Resources Mentioned:

Thrive Bible Study Vault: https://ashleyvarner.com/thrive
Free Power of Prayer Workbook: https://ashleyvarner.com/prayer

Highlights From the Episode:

No matter where you find yourself, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Just the fact that you are hearing this means that you have some kind of technology that you should be thankful for, right? And I want you to really start to think about this idea that giving thanks isn’t always enough. Now, I know that this might seem kind of a strange topic right before Thanksgiving. But I want you to really get a picture of the connection between grace and giving thanks. And that’s what this episode is all about, let’s get started.

Hey there, and welcome back, I am so happy that you are here, if you are brand new, then welcome, if you are a longtime listener, then I just wanna say thank you again for being here and for giving of your time, and really wanting to learn how to change your mindset to grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Why Giving Thanks isn’t Enough

And so today I wanna talk to you about why giving thanks isn’t always enough. Because really, we all have something to be thankful for, and I know that there’ll probably be people out there who hear this and say, well, you don’t know my situation, I really don’t have anything to be thankful for. But the truth is that even the fact that we have air in our lungs is something that we can be thankful for. But more than even that, we have a God who despite our failures and our sins has shown us his incredible love.

Titus 2:11-12 says,

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

The grace of God, so what exactly is this grace that Paul talks about? Well, it’s the grace of God that offers salvation, it’s the cross, it’s Christ’s death on the cross, and that’s what teaches us how to live. It teaches us how to say no to things that aren’t right. It’s really the realization and thankfulness that we have for the cross that creates action. So that’s why I say that just giving thanks and being thankful in our hearts is not enough.

This thankfulness that is in our hearts, this emotion that we have, must lead to some kind of action. So if you’ve been listening to me for a very long then you know that I teach that it is your thoughts that determine your emotions, and your emotions dictate an action or inaction. Then it’s that action or inaction that creates your outcome.

Four-Step Progression

I want to show you is sometimes we let our emotion of thankfulness lead to inaction. We let this thankfulness just stay as this loving feeling that we have, and we don’t ever put it into practice. So what I want you to see is this progression that Paul is sharing to Titus. I think that we could follow as well. In these verses that I just shared, there is a four-step progression that happens.

Progression: 1. Christ died for my sins.

So the first step is, Christ died for my sins, right? Christ was the sacrifice for our sins. There was no way that we could ever pay that penalty and he did that for us.

Progression: 2. That act of grace offered me salvation.

That creates the next step, which is that act of grace offered me and you salvation, right, so it’s that grace that he showed that offered salvation.

Progressions: 3. I realized my sin and accepted Him.

The third step is, I realized my sin and I accepted him as my Savior.

Progression: 4. That grace teaches (and compels) me to live a godly life.

And then the fourth step is that grace that I received. That grace that I accepted, teaches me and even compels me to live a Godly life. So Christ’s grace teaches me what it means to live a Godly life. But it also compels me to live out that life.

It’s not enough just to know the right thing to do. We have to do the right thing, right? It’s not just enough to be thankful, but we have to act out of that thankfulness. This is something that really just leads back to your motivation.


Your motivation for living a Godly life shouldn’t come from thinking that you’re just scared that God is going to strike you down if you’re bad. Or that you’re not living a Godly life just to avoid hell, right? You’re not living that Godly life just because you’re marking stuff off of a checklist.

Instead, our motivation should really come from a heart of thankfulness and acting on that thankfulness, right? If you have an emotion of thankfulness and it’s out of that gratefulness and that thankfulness that you live a life that God is calling you to. To live that Godly life, to say no to unrighteousness and selfishness, creates a deeper relationship between you and the Lord. Way more than you just being scared that he’s gonna strike you down.

So it’s easy to say, well, I’m thankful for blah, blah, blah, but it means more when that feeling is followed up by action. I could say all day that I’m thankful for my home. But if I don’t take care of it if I don’t clean and like maintain it. That’s not really showing my thankfulness, my thankfulness has to be followed up by an action.

True Thankfulness

True thankfulness creates a desire to allow God to have control over my life, right? If I am so thankful for the grace that I have been given. Then out of that thankfulness, I can say, God, I am so thankful that you saved my life. You offered your Son for me, and I want to give you control of my life. I wanna surrender my life to you. It creates a motivation for me to surrender to him and to choose his ways over my own ways.

Now, don’t get me wrong, bowing your head and giving thanks, that’s a great thing to do. My family prays before we eat. We give thanks to the Lord for our day, we thank him for the food, and for other gifts that he gives us. And the reason why that’s so great is that it keeps God at the focus as the giver and the provider of all the good things in our lives.

On Thanksgiving, that’s what we’re gonna be doing, my family’s gonna be saying thank you to the Lord for what he has done, but I just want you to realize that true and genuine thankfulness is so much more than just a simple prayer on Thanksgiving day, right? If Thanksgiving is the only time when you say something that you’re thankful for to the Lord, that’s not enough.

The thankfulness, true thankfulness, reaches into our core and really compels us to live out a life of thankfulness to the one who gives us so much grace. So sometime today or this week or before Thanksgiving, I want you to take a step back and ask yourself, what actions am I taking to show my thankfulness to the Lord?

Follow it Up With Action

I say that I’m thankful, and in my heart I’m thankful, but that emotion is leading to inaction, I’m not living out my thankfulness. And this is the same thing as saying, that you have faith, but you don’t act on that faith.

Being thankful is a great emotion, one that we enjoy, one that we like to experience. It needs to be followed up with action. And that’s what I want for you this year. As you are going through Thanksgiving and enjoying your time with your family. I really want your thankfulness to show up in the fruit of your life. To show up in the actions that you take. The way that you speak to people, and the way that you react to people in your community, and your job, and your workplace, and your home. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why just giving thanks isn’t enough. It has to be backed up with action.

All right, that is my challenge for you guys this week. I really hope that you enjoyed this. I will have a video next week for you about being thankful in advance. It is gonna be a great episode, so make sure that you stay tuned. I hope I will see you then, have a great week.

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- Ashley Varner

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