Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that comes around year after year and, for some people, it is the only time of year that they spend the time to give thanks. This is true both for some who call themselves followers of Jesus and for some who have no interest in Christianity. The mentality that chokes off the ability to be thankful begins with the idea, “I deserve this good thing.” If we deserve it then there is no reason to thank someone else for it. Said in another way, we cannot thank God for a gift if we think that we have earned and deserve it.
If we find ourselves in a position where we have trouble following one of God’s commands for us like,
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV (emphasis added)
then we need to recognize that there is some sin in our life that is entangling us, tripping us up from running the good race that is before us. (Hebrews 12:1) There is only one antidote for sin. It isn’t doing better. If we could work harder to not sin then we would be able to save ourselves from sin and the grace of God extended to us on the cross would no longer be a gift, but would instead be a wage we could earn. (Romans 11:6) The only antidote for sin is the blood of Jesus atoning for it. Covering over it. Washing it away. Removing it from our ledgers. Exchanging it for the righteousness of God. As long as we confess our sins God is faithful, and just, to forgive us of our sins and when we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus covers over all of our unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9,7)
So how do we recognize this sin, call it what it is, confess it to God, and then find a new way to live?
Romans 12:2 says,
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
To be transformed Paul said to renew your mind. Thinking differently will change how you react to the very same situations. By changing the way that you think, you can change the way you view sin and can help you bring your sin to the cross for Jesus to destroy it forever.
This Thanksgiving I want to suggest that we all focus on changing our thinking to follow the thought processes laid our in the often quoted Proverb (3:34)
34 He [the LORD] mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
Do you work your way through life with the proud attitude that you deserve all the good things you have? Or are you humbly accepting the good gifts that your Father is giving you? Humility or Pride? One will help you walk in the ways of God, the other will lead you further and further into the choking abyss of sin and death.