Next week is the holiday of Thanksgiving. I typically wish that we viewed everyday like we do that one time of year, but sometimes we do not. If I were to ask everyone if they considered themselves to be thankful for what they have, they would all probably emphatically say, “Yes.”. Why then we do not act like it? Remember what you believe (say) dictates the way that you behave so if we are truly thankful, it will show. So, why isn’t it? It begs the question, are we really thankful? Do we really have a thankful spirit?
As I look at students and even adults, I see a very unthankful generation for the things that God has blessed them with. I see students complain about their parents, the rules, their pastor, their youth pastor, their youth group, their small group leader, their Bible fellowship teacher, the fact that they do not have the new phone, gaming system, clothes, etc. Students seem to be ungrateful about what they have, and wish they had more. Students seem to be ungrateful for the work that takes place to give them what they have, and their ungrateful spirit shows in the way that they respond.
What I want for our student ministry and you is to create in each one of us a thankful spirit. Let’s create a spirit that is thankful in everything.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “ In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God.” There are no excuses for ungratefulness! Whatever situation or circumstance you are in, give thanks!
John MacCarthur said, “we must remind ourselves that thanksgiving is the essence of Christian living and attitude. And being unthankful is the very essence of an unregenerate heart.”
John Piper said, “Gratitude is the echo of grace as it reverberates through the hollows of the human heart. It is the unashamed acceptance of a free gift and the heartfelt declaration that we cherish what we cannot buy.”
I am writing about a few ways that you can create a thankful spirit in your life. The thoughts come from the 10 lepers that Jesus cleansed in Luke 17. Out of the 10, only 1 came back to glorify and thank the Lord for what He had done.
I. We must grasp the reality that we were once the outcast- V. 12
- These lepers were isolated
- These lepers were humiliated
- These lepers had a disease that was going to kill them
I Corinthians 15:9 says, “For I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
I Timothy 1:15 says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Do you wonder why the Apostle Paul could say these things after Salvation? It is solely based upon the fact that Paul grasped the reality that he once was the outcast. He once was the isolated, humiliated, and a dying man!
I think the ungrateful spirit that many Christians have is because many Christians believe that they are somewhat better than others after they get saved. We tend to think that we are better because of our social status, our education, our money, our clothes, our looks, our family, our popularity, or race.
II Samuel 9– Mephibosheth (crippled and an outcast) becoming David’s son. You see, he went from being a crippled man that had no social status now that his dad and granddad had died to becoming a child of the King!
When the life in Jesus is flowing through me, I not only notice the individual value that every person has, but I also come to an awareness and acknowledgement that when I came to God I was a reject, outcast, destitute, helpless, I came with nothing in my hands to bring, and Jesus was totally okay with that! He changed me at my worst, and made me my best by placing the righteousness of His own Son on me. To create a thankful spirit, you must grasp the reality that you were the outcast, the lame man, the reject, and the leper, but it is because of Jesus you are now alive and a child of the King!
II. We must acknowledge that the gift was only through His working, not ours- V. 14-15
Jesus tells them to go and shew themselves unto the priest. This was according to the law back in Leviticus. . They then would have a chance to be healed. So, Jesus sends them away, and they go in obedience to the voice of Jesus. As they left, they were miraculously healed. As the one saw this, he turned back to thank and praise Jesus! Remember you were a reject, now you are a child of the King, and you did not nothing to earn it. All you have to do is place your faith and trust in Jesus and what He has already completed! Salvation is an act that the Spirit does in you!
III. We learn to exercise an active faith- V. 19
Verse 19: “thy faith hath made thee whole.” I think what Jesus is saying by that statement is much deeper than a saving faith. I believe that a thankful spirit results in an active faith. Your outward life is a result of your inward life. You say, what do you mean by that? An ungrateful spirit is a result of an inactive faith, and a grateful spirit is a result of an active faith.
The ground is level at the foot of the Cross. It did not take any less of God’s redeeming grace to save you than it did anyone else. It took enough faith to save you as it did this leper. It takes the same amount of faith to save anyone. The gift that God so generously gives to you can be accepted by you to change you!
The way that you respond to the blessings given to you is a result of what is happening inwardly in you. Therefore, because of what Jesus has done inwardly in us, He changed our life, we now can respond and have a grateful spirit about whatever comes our way, because of the change that God has done in our life! You show me someone who is ungrateful for the people and things that they have in life, I will show you someone who is not actively using their faith that God has freely given them.
Let me remind you that life is not always going to be easy, but remember, my worst day in Jesus is better than my absolute best day without Jesus!
He changed my life and as a result I am eternally grateful and indebted to Him!
Are you thankful? Stop for a moment and look at the many blessings that you have been given and say Thank You, Lord!