By: Norm Rasmussen
Holy Scripture admonishes born again Christians: In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
One's gratitude to God greatly determines one's attitude toward Him. The difference between having the blessing of God on your life or removed to various degrees from your life may come down to this: Being thankful to Him in ALL things ' in all situations no matter how painful they may be to a person or seemingly unfair.
I know this can be a very painful message to read, but in may be one of the most beneficial writings you could ever read about how to have God's blessings fall upon and remain upon you ' or see them be removed to various degrees.
From a spiritual warfare perspective against evil, the 'giving of thanks to God in all things' helps maintain our divine protection from evil ' especially when we are being tempted to grow angry at God for the pain we're most likely experiencing from the trial.
Stepping away from our bruised and fractured emotions for a few moments as much as you are able ' we need to always remind ourselves that what God tells us to do in His Word is ONLY good for us. Out-rightly said: If it wasn't good for us to give thanks to God in everything, He wouldn't have instructed us to do so, correct?
We see Jesus constantly starting His prayers out by saying 'Thank you, Father '' before making His full request. Here are a couple examples:
And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude so they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. (Matt. 15:36-38)
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. (Matt. 26:27)
If you are not yet a born again Christian, Satan wants you to be constantly upset at God so you aren't pursuing peace with Him. If you ARE a born again Christian, Satan wants even more for you to become bitter and angry at God for allowing tragedy to strike -- not allowing things to go the way you hope and expect God to do on your behalf. (You weren't a threat to Satan's operations prior to being saved. Now that you are born again, you're much more threatening to him).
Of all emotions, hate is right near the the top of being most lethal. Hate and vengeance is the fruit of anger.
When a person grows angry at God for very long ' it gives Satan a much greater opportunity to help harden your heart toward God. God outright tells us so in Ephesians 4:26-27: 'Be angry, and do not sin': Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
And what is God's solution to our anger being kindled? Thank God that He not only has the power to turn this evil around for some ultimate good, but that you are demonstrating to Him that you fully understand that being 'thankful to God' is a spiritual nuclear warhead against Satan when he's trying to find an opportune way to sift you like wheat as he sifted Job as is recorded in the Old Testament.
Being thankful to God: Whether in difficult, painful situations that hit us like a fast moving freight train ' or when everything seems to be going our way ' also demonstrates to God just how much we desire to honor Him.
I firmly believe Jesus first gave thanks to the Father to demonstrate to those around Him and our reading of His words to this very day the importance of showing honor to God the Father.
If you haven't come to the full understanding yet that God desires to be HONORED at all times ' I would encourage you to make it your number one priority in asking and trusting God to reveal to you just how big of a deal it is to show honor to the Creator, the Judge, the ALL IN ALL.
People who refuse to be thankful to God the Father for sending Jesus Christ to earth to pay full penalty for their sins by dying on the cross, so that they are not only forgiven of them, but to also be given the priceless RIGHTEOUSNESS of God Himself ' become blinded to the importance of honoring the Creator and Judge.
Show dishonor to a policeman who caught you driving 100 MPH in a 55 mile an hour zone ' what do you expect will happen to you when you ask the officer to not write you out a speeding ticket?
Show dishonor to a judge who has every right to send you to prison the rest of your life for the crime you clearly committed ' do you think that will earn you any favor with him or her, or the parole board once you've been sent to prison?
Show dishonor to a military commander over you ' see how far it gets you when it comes to promotion and favor time.
Constantly dishonor loved ones and see how much love comes back to you. Doesn't work that way. You have to start showing love to be given loved. You have to start showing honor to be given honor.
Showing honor to those whom honor is due is the way for blessings to ultimately come your way. Showing dishonor to those whom honor is due will only add more pain to your life in most cases.
We may think we have good reason NOT to give God thanks in all things, and if we stubbornly refuse to give Him thanks, the only one who will ultimately get hurt by it will be US. Please keep one thing in mind. No matter how painful life for you has been ' God has the power to bless you through eternity for refusing to give place to anger toward God in this very short lifespan on this earth.
If you want a prayer life that motivates God to answer most of your prayers, assuming they aren't selfish ' lustful prayers all the time, you will do well to incorporate THANKS at the beginning of your prayers like Jesus demonstrated. By doing so, you are demonstrating just how much you want to honor the One who has power to do anything He decides to do.
It is our human nature to want an answer from God when tragedy knocks on our door, 'WHY GOD?! WHY?!!!' ' yet God often does not give us understanding of WHY He lets Satan do what Satan does to us until we steadfastly cling onto thankfulness to God through our fiery trials. And of course, even remaining thankful doesn't guarantee us that God will explain fully His reason/s WHY he's allowing Satan to inflict us with the trial/s we have or are experiencing until we pass over to the other side to heaven.
Wise faith reminds us: God knows what He's doing. James 1:2 tells us so when we have the spiritual eyes to see it. Having the spiritual eyes to see comes with being thankful in all situations God allows Satan to inflict his pain upon us we have had, or are currently experiencing, or perhaps we'll experience in the future. That even includes persecution to the point of our death, if God so allows, (which is happening daily in various places around our planet).
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6). Humble people understand the importance of maintaining a thankful attitude in all situations that confronts them. Prideful people don't, and the longer they give place to pride, the more grace God removes off their life. (I speak from great personal experience of my past! Even still, I'm not nearly as thankful of a person as God wants me to be, and I fully expect Him to keep chipping away at me in this arena while I remain alive on the planet).
Pride has many faces, but the one that is the most prominent is selfishness. Second to selfishness is thinking more highly of ourselves than what we ought to be.
Striving after humility demonstrates to God just how much we truly want to please Him. It also demonstrates to Him just how wise we desire to be.
Many Christians are experiencing needless trials because they have yet to learn the crucial importance of being appreciative - being thankful - that God has given them life in the first place ... and the opportunity to be shaped by Him with adversity if He chooses ... so we can be more equipped to be what He wants us to be (birthing Christ-like qualities in us - Godly character) as we move from this life into eternity with Him.
If Jesus had to learn obedience by the things HE suffered, which He DID (and it's truly hard for me to get a handle on that, to be perfectly honest) (See: Hebrews 5:8), what makes you and I think we will be exempted from it to learn obedience as well?
In the following link, we learn that BEING THANKFUL is a powerful spiritual weapon God has given us to use: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/MEncouragerArchives/ResentmentBitternessJoyDestroyers.htm
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