"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Love is in the air, the nights have become colder and longer, and the holiday season is officially upon us. While for some, this may feel like it's "the most wonderful time of the year," but for others, not so much. Losing loved ones, still waiting to find love or for love to find you, the disappointment of unaccomplished goals, family feuds, etc. is enough to send anyone into a funk. If we are not careful, we can quickly lose the very heart of the matter of what the holiday season really means.
It is a time to celebrate and show our gratitude, not just for what God has done, but in anticipation for what He is going to do in the upcoming year. It is a time to spread love, peace, and joy. So naturally, the enemy would love nothing more than to rain on all of our parades! He does this by planting seeds of bitterness, resentment, jealousy, loneliness, grief, fear, and doubt into our minds. He tries to make us focus on our failures, rather than our successes, on our losses, rather than our wins, on what we don't have, rather than what we do have. He would love nothing more than to ruin this season of thankfulness and cheer.
So how do we combat the enemy's antics? We follow the instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 which tells us to give thanks in everything. It does not say to give thanks in some things, or when we feel like it, or only after someone gives us a gift or word of encouragement. It tells us to give thanks in everything, because it is the will of God in Christ. That means that it is God's desire for us to find something to be grateful for no matter the situations in which we may find ourselves, or what lies the enemy may throw our way. Why? Because gratitude protects our hearts from becoming calloused and filled with evil.
When our hearts become hardened, we no longer feel what God wants us to feel, and we are no longer able to give what God wants us to give. He not only wants us to feel His love, peace, joy, contentment, etc., but He also wants us to give those things freely to others. But when we become distracted by the cares of this world, and when we allow the enemy to make us depressed and ungrateful, we have removed God from the throne of our hearts, and placed the enemy there instead. He then controls, or influences, the way that we think, feel, and behave, and why would we give him the satisfaction? Misery loves company, and that is one guest that we should refuse to entertain.
I want to challenge you, not only this week, but in the weeks to come, to set your heart and mind on being grateful in all things. It does not matter how big or small. That does not mean that you walk around in a state of delusion or denial, but it does deny the enemy access to your heart and mind. You can simply be honest with God about how you feel, and immediately follow that with a statement of gratitude. For instance: "Lord, I'm worried about how I'm going to make ends meet, but I thank you for being Jehovah Jireh my provider." "Lord, my family is driving me crazy, but I thank you that I have a family and for your gift of peace." Lord, I feel like a failure, but I thank you for being the God that never fails."
While it might not seem easy or natural at first, just keep speaking God's truth by the power of His Holy Spirit that is alive in you. Eventually, your heart and mind with align with your spirit, you will notice a difference in your demeanor, and you will probably have a newfound love for the things and people around you. Remember, the more gratitude you are, the more grateful you will become. That is one gift that you cannot afford to live without, and one gift that truly keeps on giving.
Have a Blessed Week!
P.s. My new book "Guardian Rules: 30 Lessons to Help you Live Your Best Life," is now available on Amazon.com! You can purchase your copy here.