Someone once prayed “Lord, summarize all my prayer points to thanksgiving”. This is quite ridiculous! Well, I guess what this fellow didn’t understand was that he was responsible for that summary, not God! Thank God we can summarize our prayers to thanksgiving as our faith is actively on God’s Word! A thankful person will always have his tank full and running over. Thankfulness is not conditional; it’s an attitude – a powerful attitude that brings increase and multiplication! It’s a Kingdom principle that we see over and over again in Scriptures that whatever we are thankful for multiplies. The Word of God expressly admonishes us to be thankful as an attitude. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” Col. 3:15 (NKJV). God wants us to be thankful because that is the lifestyle of faith and the Righteous ones shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17).
As the year is fast coming to an end, there would be lots of temptations to want to consider what and what and what has not been accomplished. But you can choose rather to consider what and what and what and what and what has been accomplished and be thankful for them! Praise God! Always find a reason to be thankful. Thankfulness is an attitude of the Kingdom citizens. It is a conscious positioning for the miraculous. That’s right. Whatever you are thankful for will multiply naturally. It’s a spiritual law. This is why the devil will never remind you of what the Lord has done but only what seems not to have been accomplished. We must not give him that attention. How did the Lord Jesus multiply the few loaves of bread and fishes for several thousands of hungry people to eat? How did He raise Lazarus from the dead? Check these out, it was through thanksgiving. This is so because thanksgiving is the highest expression of unwavering faith in God and His ability to perform.
So many people are confused about what and what to be thankful to God for. “Are we to thank God for all the good, the bad and the ugly?” It is very important that we get this straight. We thank God only for what He has done and not for the works of the devil. Ephesians 5:20 tells us “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” By just reading this casually you may think the word ‘for’ suggests that we thank God for everything – good, bad and ugly. But that’s not what it means. It says “...for all things unto God...” Now the phrase ‘unto God’ suggests that we give thanks to God for all things that are God-ward, meaning for all things that come from God. You see, God is never going to take the credit for what He hasn’t done – it’s not in His nature to do that. That would be called stealing! The Word of God shows us over and over again that all good and perfect gifts come from God. God doesn’t give bad things. God is not the source of sickness, accident, failure, lack etc. No! He is a good God! He may permit it but He never commissions it. God cannot give sickness because He doesn’t have it. He cannot give misfortune because He does have it either. Same with everything evil. He is good, not only by action but by nature. In Psalm 145:9, the Scripture tells us “The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” (NKJV). Praise God!
In I Thess. 5:18 we read “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJV). That means in whatever situation you find yourself – good, bad, ugly – you must maintain a thankful attitude towards God. Why? Because of Romans 8:28. It says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Praise God! We are not thankful for the bad things but we are maintaining an attitude of thanksgiving to God even in the midst of the storm. Why? Because we know how it’s going to turn out. We trust God that we shall come out of the storm better. We know that everything is working together for our good. We know that God is for us and not against us. We know that if God permits it then it’s a miracle in disguise. Praise God! We know! We are confident of this very thing! We are too persuaded to be troubled about the situation and so we give thanks! That’s the Spirit of faith at work in us! Never let situations affect your thankfulness! Even in times of trouble you can be thankful. Glory to God! We serve a good God! So you see why you should never deprive God of thanks even in the midst of odd circumstances? He is good to all. He is not just good by works but goodness is His nature.
So how do we give thanks? We give thanks to the Father in the Name of Jesus. All through the New Testament we see that everywhere we are admonished to give thanks, we are instructed to give thanks to the Father in the Name of Jesus. Hebrews 13:15 is very instructive in this respect. It says “By him [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” We see some other references in Eph. 5:20, 1Thess. 5:18, Col. 3:17 etc. It is also very important for us to be thankful to people through whom God has brought a miracle or good things our way. Thankfulness will build good relationships and bring good things our way. Ensure that you say ‘Thank You!’ not only to God (of course, this is the ultimate) but also to people God has sent our way every single day! So friends, be thankful and enjoy a life filled with the fullness of God!
The first thing we must understand and establish about holiness is that it is the nature of God. God identifies Himself so much with it all through Scripture – from the Old to the New Covenant. Therefore, if holiness is this important to our Father God, then it becomes necessary for us to properly understand it in order to function in it. There is so much noise today as to what holiness is or is not. I believe the devil labours so hard day and night to see that there is a misconception of it in order to cause believers to live short of the divine nature we received at the new birth. Thank God we are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy. In order to define what holiness is, it is important to first of all state what it is not in order to get a better picture of what it is. Holiness is not just an act; it is actions streaming from a nature. It is not an outward show; it is rather an outward manifestation of what is already in the heart (spirit). It is not trying to show our superiority over others, it is rather showing the superiority of the ways and standard of God above the ways and standards of this world.
What then is holiness? The word ‘holy’ is translated from the Greek word ‘hagios’ which means to consecrate or set apart. It is two-dimensional. First, it means to be set apart unto God. Secondly, it means to be set apart from the world (the world system). At the New Birth, a man is set apart unto God and then he becomes a New Creation, his spirit is now holy – this is automatic. Remember that man is a spirit being, he possesses a soul and lives in a body. However, the second aspect that deals with his separation from the world is going to involve him personally because this aspect deals with his unregenerate soul and body. This is why we are told what to do with the soul and body after the New Birth. We see that in Romans 12:1,2. It says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind [your mind is the same as your soul – the seat of your will, intellect and emotion], that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Holiness and sanctification mean the same thing. They both mean to be separate or set apart. Holiness is two-fold. First, the presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s life is what makes him holy. You can never be holy without the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life no matter how right you live. Understand that you can never impress God with your good works. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier (1Cor 6:11); He makes us and our spiritual and physical services acceptable to God. Even the Lord Jesus Christ had to offer Himself to the Father through the Holy Spirit (See Heb. 9:13-14). We receive the Holy Spirit at the New Birth. In Exodus 2 we read of Moses on Mount Sinai before the burning bush. When the Lord spoke to Moses, He asked him to remove his shoes because where he was standing was holy ground. What made the ground holy? What did the ground do to become holy? It was actually the manifest presence of the Lord on that ground that made it holy. So it is also with our lives. Praise God! Secondly, practically living according to the Word of God – doing the Word. This second part is progressive and as long as we live on earth we will still be under this operation, we are only perfected when we meet with the Lord. This is just like righteousness. First, we are made righteous by the finished work of Christ but it doesn’t stop there, we must then take advantage of our righteous nature to produce good works in righteousness – not in self righteousness as sinners do. That is actually what the breast plate of righteousness signifies.
So then, we must not be confused when we see words like “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:16. The Lord is simply asking us to walk in the holy nature we have received because if we don’t it is only going to lie dormant inside us while the devil takes advantage of our unregenerate soul and body to lure us into living in sin as though we are still sinners. Every believer in Christ has been empowered to live right. The Righteousness of God that was imparted into our spirit at New Birth is actually an empowerment to live right. So we don’t live right to become righteous but rather we have been empowered by righteousness to live right. Praise God! It is therefore, not natural for a Christian to sin! Sin is not the problem of the New Creation in Christ because the nature of sin has been replaced by the nature of Righteousness. God has dealt with the sin problem in Christ so that we can walk in liberty – free from sin and its effect! It is now a choice to sin and that is why we are going to be held accountable for our actions on earth.
In summary, walking in holiness is walking in love. Walking in love is walking in God because God is love. Holiness is all about the love walk. If we love God and people we would live right and treat people right. The more loving you become, the holier you become in the sense that you manifest more of the nature of God in your life and then, your fellowship and dealings with the Lord deepens. God is love and we, His children, are sons and daughters of love. A practical way to walk in love is to live a life totally dominated by the Word of God. If we do the Word we are actively walking in the love of God and it will affect every area of our lives. So wherever you are in you walk with God never give up. Keep pressing on because the Father believes in you. Never listen to the voice of condemnation. The moment you notice you’ve erred, go before the Lord in genuine repentance and receive His forgiveness. 1 Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts...” that means give Him the centre stage, His rightful place. That’s where it all begins. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Thess. 5:23. Amen!