Pastor Arthur Gonçalves
Nov 21, 2023
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit," urges the scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.
As another Thanksgiving day swiftly approaches, the scripture resounds in our hearts, compelling us to find joy, pray unceasingly, and express gratitude regardless of the challenges we have faced throughout the year. Why does the Apostle Paul, under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, emphasize the will of God for His cherished ones? It is because these three facets of God's will stand in stark contrast to our inherent sinful nature. By our very nature, we tend towards discontent, self-reliance, and ingratitude. Take solace, for you are not alone in the struggle for joy, reliance on God, and a heart filled with gratitude!
God's will is not merely a suggestion but a call to safeguard our hearts with these virtues. Paul admonishes us that neglecting to pursue God's best, His will, results in quenching the Holy Spirit. Pastor H.B. Charles Jr. aptly described us as "leaky Christians," and indeed, he is correct. When we fail to fill our hearts with joy, turn to the Lord for all our needs, and protect our hearts with gratitude, we unwittingly leak the Spirit. The consequence of quenching the Spirit is a heart perpetually focused on life's challenges, fixated on what we lack rather than what we possess, and discontented with the trials of life instead of counting our blessings. Consequently, we fail to offer praise to the One from whom all blessings flow.
The consequence of quenching the Spirit is a heart perpetually focused on life's challenges, fixated on what we lack rather than what we possess, and discontented with the trials of life instead of counting our blessings.
This Thanksgiving, God's desire for you is to reflect upon and acknowledge all that the Lord has been and done for you. He has guided you through another year, sustained you, provided for you, sanctified you through relationships, drawn you closer to Him amidst trials, and comforted you in sorrow and grief. Our response to this overwhelming goodness?
A heart that rejoices!
A heart that deeply trusts Christ!
A heart brimming with gratitude!
A human experience of the Spirit's fullness at work within us!
A life glorying in God!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is God's will for us — to be filled with the Holy Spirit, overflowing with the rich blessings of joy, peace, hope, and love. I leave you with a challenge inspired by the words of the esteemed missionary, Elisabeth Elliot:
"Let thanksgiving be the habit of your life."
May this Thanksgiving either deepen your praise for God or serve as a reset by the Holy Spirit, prompting you to walk in God's will, rejoicing, trusting, and giving thanks in all circumstances.