T H A N K F U L N E S S
I heard someone once say that thankfulness requires humility. As I pondered that statement I realized just how true it was. Thankfulness goes against every strand of self-reliance, promotion and self-sufficiency that lies within us. It forces us to recognize our dependency and need for others. As Christians it makes us aware of our dependency and need for Jesus, our Savior.
Implementing the principle of thankfulness in my own life has been something I have been intentional about for years. When I first began to assess my life I quickly discovered that all I practiced was conditional thankfulness. I was consistent in thanking the Lord after I received my breakthrough, healing or saw Him intervene in a challenging situation, but it was only after I saw the breakthrough. I was not great about being thankful in the midst of the waiting for the answered prayer. Scripture shows us in Luke 22: 17-19:
17 After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Jesus gave thanks in the midst of a major trial and suffering that He knew He was walking into. He knew that Judas had betrayed him, and Judas was a friend. Judas was someone who had done life with Him, ate meals with Him, saw all the miracles that had taken place and heard all the teachings directly from Jesus. This wasn’t a stranger, but a close companion, a part of the inner-circle, a disciple. Jesus was about to face the biggest trial of His life, betrayal and crucifixion. And yet, He gave thanks. He gave thanks despite what He was about to face. He thanked the Father because He knew the Father was good and His intentions toward Him were for the best. Jesus understood that by giving thanks it would create an atmosphere of grace for Him to walk out His God-designed destiny.
In John 6 we read the well-known story of the boy who had the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Here Jesus had thousands of people that have come to hear Him teach, but there was nothing to feed all the people. With the lunch of a young boy, Jesus takes the little meal and gives thanks. Jesus recognized the moment for what it was. In His hands were not just 5 loaves and 2 fishes. In His hands was the seed for the breakthrough that they needed. It was the start of the miracle! Notice, it was after Jesus gave thanks that the multiplication took place. It was the giving of thanks that created the atmosphere for the miracle to happen. Jesus did not thank the Father because enough food had been given to feed everyone, but instead Jesus thanked the Father for the seed that was to meet the need.
When we give thanks we change atmospheres. With our words we create a place for the kingdom of God to reside. Our words have more power than most of us care to realize. Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death are in the tongue. With that same principle we can speak either blessings or curses over ourselves, and those around us. It is our words that release and empower. It is also our words that can tear down and destroy. Jesus understood that by constantly staying in a posture of humility through thanksgiving, He was creating an atmosphere for His Father to move mountains. So I have a question for you today. Are your words creating mountains or are they creating an atmosphere for the Father to move them?
James 3:10-12 (NIV)
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
What does James mean when He states a salt spring cannot produce fresh water? Simple. Whatever is in a well will come out of it. If there is salt water in a well, you will not pull out fresh water. The same principle goes for our mouth. Out of our hearts, our mouths speak. So, if you are constantly battling with negativity then you don’t have a mouth problem, you have a heart problem. What is in you will always come out, whether that is good or not good. Connecting this to the principle of thanksgiving, our words are to be the “Amen” to God’s words. We can only do that when our hearts are clean before Him. In order for fresh water to flow from our mouths there has to be fresh water in our hearts.
In a posture of humility, begin to take inventory of what you say each day. Evaluate the weight of your words and be aware if they are words of thanksgiving or not. Each of us have things we are contending for and believing for breakthrough with, but in the midst of the waiting let us be a people that are quick to praise and thank Him simply because He is good.
Created To Love,
Personal Reflections …
1. Take some time today and make a list of what you are thankful for. Don’t just go for the obvious, but dig deep and write down the big, medium and small things.
2. Do you have people and/or relationships in your life that pull out of you the negative? Ask the Lord for wisdom on how to navigate those relationships and stop the destructive cycle.
3. Make a commitment today that you are going to be a thankful person! You will no longer participate in negative conversation, backstabbing and/or gossip. Ask the Lord for strategy to write it out. Once you have your strategy, write it down, sign it and date it. Look at it each day as a reminder of your commitment to be a person that speaks life and not death.