“But thanks be to God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57
There are many verses in the Bible about being thankful. Thankfulness is a characteristic which comes from the heart of every Christian. If we aren’t being thankful we don’t feel right, and that’s because an attitude of gratitude is interwoven into our supernatural DNA. Why is this? This might shock some of you, but God is thankful! Our Creator is a thankful Person!
If you look at the short lifespan of Jesus while here on planet earth, He thanked the Father all the time. Further, the apostles thanked God in their letters–even in the midst of their deepest turmoils and stresses. We believers bleed thankfulness! We cannot deny being grateful! We can temporarily not act grateful, but the geyser from within will soon explode. It’s impossible to muffle the Spirit of God, who is in us. We always find something to be thankful for.
Heck, even Paul stated that he delighted in his weaknesses–who does that? (See 2 Corinthians 12:10). Delight means pleasure, and everyone is thankful for pleasure. For Christians, we find thankfulness in nearly every situation because we know who holds all situations together…our Dad. In the end, and no matter what, Dad is still in complete control and He loves us unconditionally.
If I had to add a single “fruit of the Spirit” to the list in Galatians 5:22 and 23, it would be thankfulness. Paul reveals a list of spiritual fruit which will grow in our lives as we walk by our true selves. We will organically produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He sums these virtues up with, “against such things there is no law.”
Why would he say that part? Because you can’t legislate any of these traits. You can’t force someone by way of punishment to be loving, patient, or joyous. You can’t force someone to be thankful either. Thankfulness comes from within! It’s either there, or it’s not! For Christians, we can’t get away from thankfulness, no matter what is happening in our lives, because the Spirit of God lives in us. But not only that, our own spirits have been reborn with thankful, heavenly DNA (see 1 John 3:9, John 3:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20). How can this happen? How can we be reborn of God? Only by way of Jesus! He said so Himself:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
I could write an entire book on why I’m thankful for Jesus Christ, but here are five reasons of mine:
- Jesus gave me a brand new, perfect spirit. Until I began to go deeper into the knowledge of God’s grace in my thirties, I didn’t realize that Jesus had given me my brand new spirit in the 1980s, when I was a boy. Because of terrible, quasi-grace, double-talk teaching of “God leaves you when you mess up, so you better get to work so He’ll come back,” I didn’t know God had been with me–in my new spirit–nearly my whole life. This happened when I was just a small boy sitting in my mean-as-a-hornet Grandpa’s church. I’ve molded my ministry to be the opposite of his, but even when I was sitting in his cold, nearly-empty church, on those hard pews–I believed. I believed that Jesus was who He said He was, and when that happened, my old spirit died–it was crucified with Him in the spiritual realm–it was buried, and then raised back to life as a new, perfect spirit! Nothing would ever be able to change this fact–not even me! (See Romans 6:6-7, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 10:14, 13:5).
- Jesus paid off my sin debt with the Father, once and for all time. Again, because of believing false teaching, for so many years I thought I had to ask for forgiveness each time I messed up, and if I didn’t, God would stay mad at me. This teaching is demonic because it takes away from what Jesus did at the Cross. It says, “Jesus’ blood was not good enough!” I soon learned that asking never forgave anyone; the words, “ask for forgiveness” are not even in the Bible. Ask all you want, but until you place your faith in Jesus, you are not forgiven. Only belief in perfect blood forgives, not lip service (see Hebrews 9:22, John 3:16, Matthew 15:8). Further, the Jews got an entire year of forgiveness at the Day of Atonement, so the modern-day neurotic behavior of “asking to be forgiven” each time we sin is just plain stupid. We can’t even keep up with each one of our sins to ask, and God does not grade on a curve–we must be perfect! (See Matthew 5:48). Only by receiving our new, perfect spirit can this happen, not by behavior or empty words of repeatedly asking (see Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:18).
- Jesus helped me get my priorities in order. Since we are at peace with God through Jesus, He now counsels us. He doesn’t convict us, but counsels. The grace-confused person will yell, “Yes He does convict us! He convicts us of our sin all day long!” but that would be wrong because what exactly is the punishment of being convicted of sin? Death (see Romans 6:23). What did Jesus do at the Cross? He received my full conviction of my sin–as well as yours–and received death. Therefore, I’m not being convicted of any sin any longer, because Jesus was, once and for all time! (See Hebrews 10:12). Christ is not dying over and over in heaven each time I sin–IT’S FINISHED! (See John 19:30). God’s wrath was satisfied completely by Jesus’ obedience and willingness to take on my punishment (see Romans 5:9). So now, I’m being counseled each day by a loving, patient, kind Spirit, who keeps no record of my wrongs (see John 14:26, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:1, 1 Corinthians 13). Once I began to understand this, the true Spirit of God in me began to help me trim the fat in my life. Nearly everything was shifted around as I began to understand what is important, and what is not.
- Jesus taught me my value. If you know my story, then you know my childhood was not ideal, to say the least. In my youth, when I should have been being taught how valuable I am, I was being shipped from foster home to foster home. I was being beat up as the new kid in school, yet again, and ignored by my classmates. My addicted mother, who had no healthy parenting skills, caused me tremendous pain and insecurity. My self-worth was very low, and this spilled over into my adult relationships. My own addictions and codependency grew as I allowed unacceptable behavior from many people, just to keep them satisfied with me. Soon enough, Jesus revealed the real me to me: an infinitely loved child of God! As I began to flourish in the awareness of my identity in Christ, I grew in the knowledge of my value. Confidence began to spring to life as my relationships changed dramatically! I stopped putting up with such crap, and I put my foot down when it came to being taken advantage of. However, I was learning how to do this properly, which is with love and respect–both for others and for myself. I’m still learning, but my goodness, I’m so much better than I was!
- Jesus taught me how to be content in my most difficult circumstances. For so long, I thought I knew best when it came to making sure my life was in order. I’m an alpha male by personality, so I make quick decisions and I try to fix things as fast as I can. That won’t work when you are being your true self as a heaven-ready saint. Patience with others and with yourself is the only thing that feels natural as a child of God. As my mind was being renewed to this truth, I struggled greatly. The pain and frustration of being still and allowing God to work things out without my help was tortuous. IT HURT. BAD. When the enemy wanted me to react in certain ways–to certain things and people–I told him to shut his face and I ignored his dumb butt. The quick fixes were over and I was beginning to understand Jesus’ patience for me! In turn, He was teaching me the same thing He taught Paul about contentment, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” (See Philippians 4:13).
So today, my friends, let me ask you this: Why are you thankful for Jesus Christ? For many things I’m sure! Some of you might say, “Because He is helping me make it to heaven,” but that would be wrong. If you love Him, He has already helped you make it to heaven! Heaven is in you, right now, today! (See Luke 17:21, Ephesians 2:6).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for Jesus! What He went through, for me? Wow. I cannot express to you how much that means to me. All I can do to pay you back is simply allow Him to live through me each day. I plan on doing so until I get rid of this shell. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of these dear readers feel as if they have nothing to be thankful for–they are in pain. Very tough times have hit them, and they feel defeated. Dad, please strengthen them today. Reveal yourself, and comfort them. Let them know you’re with them. Let them know you love them so much, you gave them Jesus. Let them know you feel their pain on a deeper level than even they feel it–and that the pain will pass! These are promises for all who believe! We are thankful for you! We love you! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3! Get your copy here!