Although we understand that there is no longer any need for blood sacrifice, the principle of sacrifice is still a New Testament requirement (Hebrews 13:15). Before Jesus came, sacrifice was associated with death, but after the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus death and resurrection, sacrifice is now associated with life. Jesus did not want to go to the cross, but he sacrificed His feelings for His Father’s will. God wants us to live a sacrificial life, putting Him and His kingdom first and everything else second (Matthew 6:33). Someone said what about our families, shouldn’t they come first? I have learned in many years of ministry that by putting God first, He prioritizes my family’s interests more than I could. The sacrifice of thanksgiving is giving God thanks when we don’t feel like it, and when our circumstances or feelings are not the motivation for doing it. This is the death part of the living sacrifice. When we bring our sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, it allows Him to bring life into our circumstances. If God can raise the dead, He can certainly raise our ‘dead’ circumstances. Some may feel it is hypocritical to be thankful when we do not feel like it and that God would not ask us to do something like that. This is not true. God does require us to do it, and He knows we are capable of it even when we don’t feel like it. Remember however that the principle of sacrifice originated in the heart of God and was demonstrated when God gave His only Son Jesus as the sacrifice for all humanity (John 3:16). He is not asking you to do something He did not experience Himself.
Develop the sacrifice of thanksgiving when you least feel like it, the sacrifice of joy when you are not joyful and the sacrifice of sharing your resources and being generous when you feel ungenerous. And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it at your own free will (Leviticus 22:29). As we sacrifice, we become more Christ-like and it is for this purpose that we are asked to make these sacrifices. Because man is created in the image of God, there is within every believer the capacity to sacrifice. In everything give thanks, not for everything.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
No matter what you are going through, God is still worthy of thanksgiving. That’s why you can give thanks in the midst of every circumstance. Most important, is knowing that when we give Him thanks we are in His will and pleasing Him, even though we might still be suffering. If ever you have to make major decisions in life, and uncertain, take some time to give God thanks for leading and guiding you. You will immediately place yourself in His will according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and this is a good place to hear from Him about what to do. Every decision is worthy of His counsel and thanksgiving draws you into a place of pleasing Him and hearing from Him. Never make decisions when there is anxiety, but only when there is peace. Thanking God takes the focus off the decision making process and on Him. Do it until you have peace and watch how He directs you in this place of thanksgiving.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The spiritual exercise of giving thanks overcomes the reluctance of natural feelings. You do it because you are a spiritual being, born of God’s Spirit and able to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, even when the natural circumstances say it seems ridiculous. Remember he is more interested in your welfare than you could ever imagine, that’s the love of the Father.
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