Entering God’s gates with thanksgiving means approaching God with a heart of gratitude and praise. Psalm 100 provides insight into how we can cultivate a thankful heart and lifestyle. Here are some key points from the psalm:
Recognize God is God
The foundation of thanksgiving is recognizing who God is. “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his” (Psalm 100:3). When we understand God as our loving Creator and Savior, gratitude flows naturally from our hearts. Taking time to meditate on God’s character stirs thanksgiving.
Worship God with Gladness
Psalm 100:2 says to “worship the Lord with gladness.” God wants us to approach Him joyfully and enthusiastically. When we reflect on God’s goodness, our hearts cannot help but respond with praise and thanksgiving. Choose to have an attitude of gratitude even when circumstances seem difficult.
Enter His Gates with Praise
We enter God’s presence thankfully. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Praise focuses on who God is, while thanksgiving expresses gratitude for what He has done. Fill your heart with praise through worship music, testimonies, praying God’s Word, and remembering past blessings.
Give Him Thanks
The psalm concludes, “Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4). Make thanksgiving part of your daily routine. Set aside time to thank God for specific people and circumstances. Keep a gratitude journal. Pray through the alphabet, thanking God for something that starts with each letter. Thankfulness should permeate our lifestyle.
Thank Him for Salvation
Most importantly, thank God for the gift of salvation through Jesus. “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Thank God for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Thank Jesus for giving His life on the cross for you. Thank the Holy Spirit for indwelling and empowering you. Salvation is the greatest gift, motivating ceaseless thanksgiving.
Thank Him in All Circumstances
We are told, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). God wants us to thank Him not just when life is good but at all times. Thanking God in hardship develops trust and reminds us of His sovereignty. Choose to say, “God, I don’t understand this but I thank you that you are in control.”
Thank Him Through Difficult People
Thanking God for difficult people may seem counterintuitive. But when we thank God that He is working even through unpleasant relationships, our perspective shifts. Pray, “Thank you, God, for putting this person in my life and for the ways You want me to grow.” Ask God to give you His heart of compassion for them.
Thank Him Before Requests
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Begin prayer by thanking God rather than jumping immediately to your list of needs. Thank Him that He hears and answers prayer according to His perfect will.
Bless and Thank Him Among the People
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). As God’s people we inspire others and point them to God when they hear our praise. Look for opportunities to thank and bless God among nonbelievers as a testimony to His goodness.
Thank Him in Song
“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being” (Psalm 104:33). Singing is an expressive way to praise God from the heart. Sing praise songs and hymns at church and throughout your day. Make up new songs that specifically thank God for His blessings.
Thank Him with Other Believers
Something powerful happens when God’s people join together in thanksgiving. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4). Attend a worship service and feel your thankfulness swell as voices blend in praise. Join a small group and take turns sharing praise reports.
Thank Him Through Giving
We honor God with our wealth when we give cheerfully and generously: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). When we give to ministry, the poor, and those in need, we demonstrate thankfulness for God’s provision.
Thank Him by Keeping His Commands
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 14 & 15:14). Obeying God is an act of love and thanksgiving. We can thank Him through repentance, accountability, and life change. Ask the Holy Spirit, “How can I thank You today through my actions?”
Thank Him Through Our Service
We can thank God through our employment and volunteer service. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). Look for small ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus, thanking Him through your actions.
Thank Him Through Hospitality
We can thank and honor God by showing hospitality: “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:9-10). Think creatively about how you can thank God through hospitality, whether a meal, kind words, or just a listening ear.
Thank Him for Answered Prayer
When we see prayers answered, we should remember to thank God. The Israelites set up an altar called Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). Likewise, we can set up “Ebenezers” – spiritual markers of gratitude for God’s provision at pivotal moments. Give Him glory for hearing and answering prayer.
Thank Him as a Sacrifice
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:15). Under the old covenant, thank offerings were sacrificed at the temple as an act of worship. We now offer continual “sacrifices of praise” through our grateful words to God. He delights in hearts that overflow with thanksgiving.
Thanking God should be our automatic overflow when reflecting on who He is and all He has done for us. We can cultivate thankfulness through our attitudes, prayers, worship, giving, and service. Ultimately, gratitude draws us closer to God’s heart and transforms us to be more like Jesus. As we learn to enter His gates with increasing thanksgiving, we bless God and receive even more joy and blessing ourselves.