God has given new covenant believers many positive motivations for doing the right thing. One of these is obeying God out of a sense of gratitude, walking in a worthy manner out of thanksgiving to God. Being thankful for God’s love, mercy, salvation, blessing, guidance, and protection motivates us to want to please God by our actions.
One of the attitudes that shines through in Paul’s writings in the New Testament is his thanksgiving. The apostle expresses his gratefulness for fellow believers (I Thess 1:2), for God’s leading (II Cor 2:14), for our future victory over death (I Cor 15:57), for our present victory over sin’s power (Rom 6:17), for the message being accepted (I Thess 2:13), and finally cries out, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (II Cor 9:15). Paul also encourages us to follow his example of thanksgiving by “giving thanks in everything” (I Thess 5:18).
Right actions follow from our thanksgiving. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Col 2:6-7). Our “overflowing gratitude” energizes our “walk in Him”.
Continuing this thought in the book of Hebrews, we read, “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28). We show our gratitude to God when we offer to God our acceptable or reasonable service; our obedience to all He commands.