1Th. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
There is a saying I have heard my pastor Dr. Barclay say many times that is so true and very powerful. All of life hinges on gratitude. If for example you walked up to a very large door, and the will of God awaited you on the other side of that door, all you have to do is open it. What if that door had no hinges and it was so heavy you could not personally move it? You would not be able to enter into what God desires for your life.
So it is when it comes to gratitude. As Paul states here in 1 Thessalonians, in everything we go through in life, we are to give thanks. He did not say give thanks for everything, but in everything. God does not bring bad things into our lives to “teach us” things, but in the midst of whatever you face or even when things are going good if you want to experience God’s will you must walk in gratitude. That is why Paul states in this verse that giving thanks in everything is the will of God for you.
This week of Thanksgiving I want to share with you three powerful things that we are to be walking in, making a part of our daily lifestyle. As you will see in doing so it is through these three things that we can and will live a life of gratitude toward God. For all Christ has done for us we certainly have a reason to walk in gratitude everyday, no matter what we may or may not be going through. So let’s take a look at these three things we are to be “walking” in.
Eph. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Paul reveals in the start of this fifth chapter with a very powerful statement that will make the point of how these three things that later follow in this chapter have to do with our gratitude toward God. We are to be imitators of God as His dear children, or in other words those who are walking as grateful kids. The greatest way you can show your gratitude toward God is in imitating Him.
Number one: Walk in love. We are to walk in the same love that Christ walked in toward us. That simply means the God-kind of love, which is unconditional, sacrificial, and continual. When you take a look at what walking in love is all about, it really comes down to understanding who you now are in Christ, and how you can in fact daily choose to “put on Christ” just as you choose to put on certain clothes each day when you go to your wardrobe to select what you will wear.
To walk in love you must do as Christ has done according to Ephesians 5:2, He gave Himself as an offering and a sacrifice to God. For us to walk in love we to must give ourselves as an offering and sacrifice unto God. Not doing so will keep us from learning who we are in Christ. The word offering means to give yourself as a gift to God. In doing this we recognize that it is by our own free will that we choose to follow after Christ and walk as a child of God. For us to not give ourselves as a gift to God, but to feel we “have” to do what Christ did, that will only lead to a form of bondage. God wants us to want to follow Him, not feel like we have to.
We also need to give ourselves as a sacrifice to God for Paul Himself stated this in Romans 12:1. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. The reason this is important is because of the very next thing Paul then states in Romans 12:2. We are not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Those who are of the world are not going to walk in the God-kind of love. They don’t have that kind of love in them, but the believer does. The problem for many Christians is they don’t know who they really are.
All who are born again have become a new creation, recreated in the image and likeness of God. Stop and think about this for a minute. Romans 5:5 states that when you are born again the love of God has been poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 4:8 we are told that God is love, and we know that God is a Spirit. You are a spirit and once born again if you have been made in the image and likeness of God, which you have, then you are love, the God-kind of love. That is exactly what Romans 5:5 is saying. That love was poured out into your spirit, the real you. You are love. Most believers just don’t know who they are.
Now to walk in love you must also begin then to not only renew your mind to the Word of God to who you are, you must choose as scripture says to go into your spiritual closet, the person who you really are on the inside, and put on Christ. Doing so you choose to put on love. It really is that simple. You make the choice to treat others the way you would want them to treat you. That is what Jesus has done for us.
Eph. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Eph. 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
Eph. 5:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Number two: Walk in the light. We are to walk as children of the light, not children of the darkness. We also come to the Word of God and find out what is acceptable to the Lord. The things that are not acceptable to Him we do not walk in. Paul states here we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. This means we do not become partakers in the things that sinners do, instead we let our light shine so that they can see a way out of the darkness. Walking in darkness does not show our Father that we are grateful for what He has done. Choosing to walk in light will for we are revealing our love for Him in setting us free from the darkness.
Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
As followers of Christ we are to do “good works” not “evil works” so that we are letting our light shine to those who are looking for a way out of the darkness. The honest truth of anyone who is a sinner and looking for a way out of their destructive sinful lifestyle is that they are not looking for someone living like them. They already have plenty of people like that, and they know such people are no different then they are. They are looking for someone who is genuine and real who in fact is living free from the things that they are bound by. They want to get free, not further bound. Those who are sick Jesus said have need of a physician. We know the physician.
As believers in Christ we are still going to have times we may get in the flesh, but it should not be our lifestyle. Jesus came to set the captives free, not to get them to pray a prayer and continue to live a life of bondage to sin and the pain sin brings. A vital key to us walking in this liberty is found in Galatians 5:16. If we will walk in the spirit, we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is once again referring to us learning who we are in Christ as a recreated spirit being. Walking in the spirit means we are walking after the true you, the spirit man on the inside, not the fleshly man on the outside.
Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
Eph. 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Number three: Walk as wise. To walk as one who is wise means to not go the way of fools. Scripture has a lot to say about this but one of the most revealing areas in scripture that deals with a comparison of those who are wise and those who are foolish is found in a parable Jesus taught about the 10 virgins as revealed in Matthew’s gospel chapter 25. Jesus gives a comparison of 10 virgins, five who were wise and ready for the Lord’s return, and five who were foolish and not ready.
The key to this parable is that they all had oil in their lamps, representing that they were all born again, but the wise also had oil stored up in additional vessels, but the foolish did not. When Jesus came and the wise were ready and went with Him, the foolish had gone out to get more of this oil but were now to late. The oil represents the glory of God, or His presence. The wise Christian is going to stay full of the glory of God by staying close to Him. One of the places you stay full of God is in God’s house. The foolish virgins today are out playing around doing their own thing, but the wise are working for the Lord and staying full of Him.
We can cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude toward God by walking in love, walking in the light, and walking as wise. Living such a life means we are imitating our Father in heaven, which will open the door to His will for our life. Remember gratitude is the hinge upon which all of life swings. May God richly bless you and your family this Thanksgiving as we honor our God for all He has done for us!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker