Do you do the whole let’s-go-around-the-room-and-share-what-we’re-thankful-for thing on Thanksgiving Day?
It’s a great practice, and if you’re like me you probably express thanks for God’s grace in your life, your loved ones, and the many blessings of freedom we get to experience in America. However, if we were able to transport the Apostle Paul into our Thanksgiving Day gatherings and plop him down on our sofas, I think he would add something unique to the conversation. I think he would stand and say, “I’m thankful for the fight.”
In his famous words in 2 Timothy 4:7 he said that the fight of faith was a good fight.
I think there are three things that make a fight good:
- A fight is a good fight when we’re fighting for something good.
- A fight is a good fight when we fight well in the fight.
- A fight is a good fight when we win the fight.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are destined for all three:
- We are fighting for the greatest good in the universe—the expansion of God’s kingdom in the hearts of every man, woman, and child on our planet.
- We have the revelation of Scripture and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to help us fight well in our part of the battle.
- Finally, we are promised victory. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I don’t always love the fight, but I’m grateful for it—and I can concur with the Apostle Paul that it is indeed good. Can you?
How do you define a blessing? When you pray for God’s blessing in your life what are you seeking and anticipating? Peace? Rest? Healthy relationships? Prosperity on all fronts?
If God’s goal for our lives were peace, ease, and prosperity then I would agree that those things would be His ideal blessings for us. However, if His goal includes something else (and Scripture certainly indicates that it does), then it is probable that His blessings will include some other things as well.
According to the New Testament, God’s desire for us is ongoing transformation into the image and nature of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:19; Romans 12:1). Since this is the case, then God’s blessings must necessarily include some things that will help us transform.
If a high school sports team has a goal to become state champions, their coach must assign them grueling tests and workouts that will develop a championship heart in them. They must be stretched, pushed, and challenged until they become champion caliber athletes. When the goal is a championship the coach cannot bless them with endless rest days and easy workouts.
The same is true for us. If God wants us to grow He must bless us with situations that cause us to grow. This isn’t fun and it’s never easy, but it is necessary. Perhaps our prayers of gratitude should go beyond thanks for the sweet and easy things. Perhaps we should add: “God, thank you for the battles that teach me how to fight…thank you for the trials that force me to grow…thank you for the tests that refine and grow my faith…and thank you for your commitment to never stop transforming me. I accept these blessings—none of them will be wasted on me. By your grace, I will transform. Amen.”