Many times in my introduction to the the topic of holiness, I have said, “God does not want holiness to be a heavy burden that you carry around on your shoulders all the time. He wants it to be something that fills your life with peace and joy.” Yet for most believers, we struggle so much in our effort to live a holy life that we wonder, “Where is the joy in this?”
The first step is to find that place of rest that Jesus talked about. He said:
“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
(Matthew 11:28 NKJV).
It is essential to meditate on this passage of Scripture, until you become immersed in this truth to the point you no longer depend on your own efforts to live a holy life. Instead you find that you are depending more and more on God’s ability in you, to give you the power to stay free from sin, and the ways of this world. You will find that resting in the Lord is an act of faith that you can do every single day.
Now as you know, there is much more that can be said about this, but what I want to share with you this week is the power of thanksgiving. Living a thankful life will help you in ways that you never thought possible. It is an “attitude of gratitude,” as some have put it, that will not only fill your life with joy and peace, but will also help you cease from struggling to live a holy life.
The key to living a life of thanksgiving is found in the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote:
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV).
Therefore, if you are struggling to live a holy life, then start thanking God in everything – that is, in every situation and every circumstance. You will be amazed how it will release the power of God in your to live a life of joy and peace. It will also help you to live a holy life of victory over sins that might otherwise easily trip you up. This is why thanksgiving is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you – it has a powerful, postitive effect upon your life!
One can see from the Word that we are to be thankful in every situation. Notice that Paul goes a step further when it comes to thanksgiving. He wrote, in the following passage:
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, GIVING THANKS FOR ALL THINGS to God the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV, emphasis mine).
Yes, God wants you to thank Him for all things – the good things, and the bad things that happen in your life. If this is the first time you have heard this, you may find your mind reeling. Your immediate reaction may be: How can I thank God for what the devil has done? Or, how can I thank God for the mistakes I have made? I had the same reaction many years ago when I first considered this verse. It took me a long time to understand what the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired the Apostle Paul to write these words.
Once I was finally willing to consider thanking God for all things, in every situation, I asked God how this worked. He told me basically that we can thank God for all things, because He is bigger than those situations, and He is able to take what the devil has meant for our harm and turn it around to bless us instead.
This is the power that is released on our behalf when we thank God in every situation, and problem that comes our way.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you your own understanding in this, then begin to apply it to your life as adverse situations arise. As you do this, you will find the peace and joy flooding your spirit, through thanking God in every situation, and even every problem you face. When you face the mountains in your life, thank God them, because you know He is bigger than any mountain. When you do that, you can watch Him take care of each situation. Does that make sense to you?
After practicing this principle for many years, whenever I find myself slipping back into struggling to live a holy life, I take that as a red flag warning me that I am doing things in my own strength. That’s when I remind myself to return to thanking God for everything. It is truly a source of power and strength in my life. You can experience this, too!
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]