Thanksgiving is celebrated once a year in the United States. It had its roots in humble hearts coming together to thank God for providing for life. I am not sure that “Thanksgiving” has retained that purpose in this age. Nevertheless, we should consider the quality of thankfulness not solely in the context of a national holiday, but more appropriately as a characteristic of our soul.
Gratitude is a perspective we choose to take in life. There is no doubt that such a perspective can bless our life, but if we are not careful our gratitude can become just a step in our pursuit of a happy life. If you are a believer in God and Jesus Christ then you need to consider the place that giving thanks to God has in your spiritual life.
Thanksgiving and Faith
In the Gospel of Luke there is an account of ten lepers who were healed by Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). One of these men returned to give thanks to Jesus.
Jesus makes an important statement to this one grateful man: And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19 (ESV)
Jesus connected this man’s gratitude with his faith. It was the man’s faith that caused him to come back and thank Jesus. It was perhaps at the moment of healing that this man really saw and believed who Jesus is.
Jesus said this man’s faith made him well. Perhaps Jesus is not talking about the initial faith the man had that lead him to ask to be healed, but rather the belief about Jesus as the LORD and One Who truly saves.
Jesus then pronounced the man well. The word “well” has several meanings: to be healed; to be made whole; to be delivered or rescued; or in a spiritual sense to be saved. The other nine men were cleansed from leprosy, but this man was made whole. His body and soul were made whole, were delivered, and were saved.
Breathe In and Breathe Out Thanks
Air with its different components, but most primarily oxygen, is necessary for our physical life and proper functioning of all of our body. Giving thanks should be as vital to our soul and spirit as breathing in oxygen is to our body.
If you are a person who believes in Jesus, the Son of God, then consider some of the blessings that you have received in and through Jesus. In this article, I would like to connect our thanks-giving focus to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps meditating on some of these blessings will not only enrich your celebration of Thanksgiving this year, but also help you to develop “the breath of thanks-giving.”
Life Giving Blessings
To begin our journey of developing the “breath of thanks-giving,” start by meditating on the three blessings in Christ that are briefly referenced below.
Friendship with God: God is not a cold, distant being. He desires a relationship/friendship with us, and we receive a living relationship with God as a gift through Jesus.
“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:10-11 NLT
Free from the Weight of Guilt and Condemnation
As a young woman I had difficulty forgiving a relative. It was like a ball and chain on my leg. As I learned about and accepted Jesus’s forgiveness of me, I was able to forgive and be set free from the weight of guilt; the weight of the condemnation I felt for not forgiving and the weight of the condemnation I held over the other person.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2 NLT
The Mother of All “Do Overs”
I don’t know about you, but I have often wished for a second chance, a do over with various aspects of my character, choices or relationships in life. In Jesus we are made new spiritually. It is the grand do over.
“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them . . . Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:15, 17
“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6: 4-5 ESV
On Your Own
These are only three blessings that were selected for this posting. There are many more blessing in Jesus. As you read through the scriptures begin journaling blessings in Jesus that can be found in both the New Testament and the Old Testament.
Collect and treasure the blessings you have. Breathe them into your spirit and then breathe them out into life.
“I will always thank the LORD; I will never stop praising him.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD…” Psalm 34:1-2a