Thanksgiving Through Obedience

August 19, 2020

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

Written by Lauren O’Neill from the Station Hill Campus

As young children, most of us were hopefully taught to say “thank-you” after receiving something like a gift or a compliment. We may have grown up at least partially understanding the social (and hopefully the spiritual) motivation for verbalizing our thanks to others.

But sometimes there are instances when the thing we are given is worth more to us than what mere words of thanksgiving can express. In those situations, the only way to express our thanks is through our behavior.

Such is the Christian life.

As Peter so eloquently reminded the early Christians exiles scattered throughout the provinces, the gift we have been given is of incalculable worth: salvation through Jesus Christ, an eternal inheritance as adopted children of God. This gift was purchased at great price—the holy, precious blood of Christ.

Our entire life is now to be lived as a thank-you to Him who loved us first.

There are things Jesus asks His followers to do, and because we love Him, we obey Him. As Christians, we choose to align our behaviors in a way that brings God praise and glory, and we do it joyfully as a way to express thanksgiving with our lives. We show our thanksgiving through our obedience.

Some of the ways we can live out our thanksgiving are scattered through 1 Peter 1 and 2. Here are a few Peter mentions:

  • Rejoice, even in the midst of suffering. (1 Peter 1:6)
  • Keep your mind fully alert and sober. (1:13)
  • Love one another deeply. (1:22)
  • Rid yourself of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, and slander of every kind. (2:1)
  • Submit yourself to earthly authorities. (2:13)

There are many more ways our lives can express thanks and obedience to Christ, and each one of us daily must determine the steps we will take to be holy as Christ is holy. And as our motivation, we are given this beautiful reminder of how God sees us: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Read 1 Peter 2:9 again, noting the descriptive words. Words can have connotations, as well as definitions. What are some connotations you draw from words like chosen and
  2. How have you recently expressed thanksgiving to God through obedience of some sort? Take a few moments to reflect on the things God has given you and asked of you.
  3. When you have time, search through chapters 1 and 2 and underline or highlight each of the exhortations Peter gives as ways to align your behavior with Christ. For example, read 1 Peter 2:17. Create your own list, and prayerfully consider how you’re doing in each of these areas.

Family Activity

The Obedience Game

Obedience is a way that we can say “Thank you!” to God and other people. When we obey God, we are glorifying Him with our actions. Let’s practice obedience by playing the Obedience Game. You will need a piece of paper and several stickers for each person.

Have an adult be the task giver. The task giver will give directions for each person to complete a task. A task might be something like this: do 5 jumping jacks, spin around twice, or give someone a high-five. You will receive a sticker for each task you complete correctly. The first person to complete 10 tasks wins! The task giver will need to give tasks for everyone playing the game, feel free to use the task ideas below or brainstorm your own.

Obedience should always be done right away, all the way, and with a happy heart.

Task ideas: Give someone a hug, run to the front door and back, give someone a compliment, pat your head and rub your tummy, touch your toes, jump up and down for 30 seconds, put something away, say a Bible verse, sing a song, do 5 jumping jacks, say the ABC’s, find a hat and put it on, spin around, throw away 2 pieces of trash, etc.