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The Obedience of Giving Thanks
by Dr. Timothy Hoflund 
06/01/10
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“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

The events of my life since December 16, 2009 – the day of my knee replacement surgery – have caused me to really examine my acceptance, let alone my faithfulness, to God’s Word. By extension then, my faithfulness to God has been under examination!

Let’s face it … it is NOT popular to give thanks to God for absolutely everything that happens in your life, that happens TO YOU! In fact, I have heard a number of celebrity ministers over the years actually deny that we are to be thankful for all things as we read in Ephesians! They counter with (at best) an explanation that we are to be thankful to God for being God in the midst of all things that happen to us … but is this what God tells us to do?

Well I compared Ephesians 5:20 in 12 translations of the Bible and guess what I found?! Yep! We ARE to give thanks to God FOR ALL THINGS that happen in our lives!

The doctors told me my leg was infected so severely that I was facing up to a year of nightmarish treatments and maybe the loss of my lower leg … let me tell you it is REALLY CHALLENGING to say, “Thank You Lord for this situation”! It was a real struggle to fight through the emotions and thoughts of the flesh!
It was EASY to thank God for His children who answered my call for prayers and the miracle that occurred that day when the infection visibly and almost totally disappeared!

Then comes the pain of recovery and therapy to get this artificial knee to act like a natural knee.
Then sickness invades our home and attacks my body in the midst of this recovery/therapy process! Symptoms severe and painful on top of the knee thing. To thank God for this was another challenge, after all how do you become thankful for pain?

Then viruses hit our computers and we lost so much of our vital information. Yes, we are to thank God for this as well!

How did I do? Well, I must report to you that many times – in the midst of the situation – I simply did not even think about saying “thank You Lord”! Did I pray? Yes. Did I complain? I don’t remember doing so. Did I recall Romans 8:28? Absolutely! What time I was afraid did I trust in our Lord? Certainly!

But to give thanks so many times was an afterthought … if at all! Until tonight. Tonight I thank God for all of it. Late perhaps, but still thankful – truly!

Why? Why say thank You Lord for the difficult and even the bad things? Because He said to?

Well, yes as a matter of fact, ONLY because He said to! If we are to have a perfecting, mature faith; if we are to be found of God as genuinely obedient, then that must be the only reason we do - - are you ready for this? - - that must be the ONLY reason we do ANYTHING He says to do!

Whether or not something makes sense to us or seems illogical … if God says to we must do it!
Whether or not we get some special, tangible benefit – even if it is promised – our motivation and reason for doing what God says is simply and only because God says to do it!

Now some will say that this is blind obedience and that will get us into trouble! Then I must ask, “do we really and completely trust God?” If we say yes, then we must trust that He has our best interest at heart and will care for us in our “illogical” obedience!

We must believe and trust that God will provide understanding of what is behind His instructions when our obedience is, in fact, “blind”. If we say “Lord give me understanding first and then I will obey” you are not being obedient or trusting!
What? We are supposed to GIVE THANKS FOR everything? Are you kidding me? Why should we do that?

Why? Why say thank You Lord for the difficult and even the bad things? Because He said to?
Well, yes as a matter of fact, ONLY because He said to! If we are to have a perfecting, mature faith; if we are to be found of God as genuinely obedient, then that must be the only reason we do - - are you ready for this? - - that must be the ONLY reason we do ANYTHING He says to do!

Whether or not something makes sense to us or seems illogical … if God says to we must do it!
Whether or not we get some special, tangible benefit – even if it is promised – our motivation and reason for doing what God says is simply and only because God says to do it!

Now some will say that this is blind obedience and that will get us into trouble! Then I must ask, “do we really and completely trust God?” If we say yes, then we must trust that He has our best interest at heart and will care for us in our “illogical” obedience!

Of course some, if not many, will say, “I just can’t give thanks for really bad things that happen!” Then we are likely to hear this, “What if (the worse possible thing) happens, I’m supposed to say ‘thank You Lord’?” When asking why not, I have heard a common line of reasoning … “I don’t feel thankful, how can I thank God when I don’t feel grateful?”

TWO THINGS …
First: God is SPIRITUAL not emotional! God never says in His Word that we are to FEEL like giving thanks, only that we ARE to give thanks!
So this begs the question, can we speak thanksgiving when we don’t feel thankful? OF COURSE WE CAN!

Does this make us a hypocrite if we do? OF COURSE NOT! Let me qualify this: We are not hypocrites if our motivation is to be obedient and to trust in God’s over-riding sovereignty to produce an ultimate good from this thing.

Second: God deals with issues from a spiritual perspective and He is always aware of something that we all too often neglect … we are in a spiritual warfare! In spiritual battles, what defeats the enemy more often than not is simply our response to what he throws at us or by taking advantage of the things that go horribly wrong in our lives.

Doesn’t make any sense? Well remember the understanding that Paul shares with us by way of the Corinthians …
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

The things that don’t make sense to us and especially to the world, are the very things that confound things that are mighty … and giving thanks for bad things must surely confound the enemy!

If the simple act of giving thanks will confound the mighty things at work against me in life, then let me shout it from the rooftops … THANK YOU JESUS!

We must believe and trust that God will provide understanding of what is behind His instructions when our obedience is, in fact, “blind”. If we say “Lord give me understanding first and then I will obey” you are not being obedient or trusting! But when we say, “yes Lord” regardless of our understanding, understanding will come and most often hand in hand with the victory over the bad things we are giving thanks for!

Imagine how confused the devil must get when he really hammers a saint and the saint starts thanking God for the very thing that satan is using!

You say, “oh that is foolishness”. Won’t that just make the devil do more of the same if he thinks we are grateful for what he is doing?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! The devil wants the glory, not for God to get the glory! When we give God the glory for the “thing”, when we do the one thing that the devil does not want us to do, he will stop doing it!

What happened in the jail when the Apostles started giving thanks and singing hymns? Read Acts 12 and Acts 16.

Not only does it stop the devil in his tracks … that’s when God’s breakthrough happens!
So do we want victory in our lives? Do we want those Divine breakthroughs? One key that perhaps we have not been using is the issue of obediently giving thanks for ALL things, the good as well as the very worst!

May God’s grace abound in our hearts to be mindful to always give thanks to our loving, caring God!


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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