The Roadblocks of Thanksgiving

by Joanna Pierce on November 18, 2018

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And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole (Luke 17:11–19, KJV).

More than an Event

Thanksgiving is an attitude and not an event in our life or just a response to something. We offer up thanksgiving to God even if nothing has happened to us! We thank Him because He is great and worthy of our praise. This is why we draw close to the Lord in prayer and make thanksgiving a part of our daily walk. We enter into His gates with thanksgiving and  into His courts with praise (Psalms 100:4)! The closer we get to God, the greater our praise and thanksgiving will be. In reality, our thanksgiving will never be more powerful than when everything in our life is going wrong and we still praise God anyway!

The Enemy of Thanksgiving

Paul warned Timothy in the last days people would be ungrateful (II Timothy 3:1–4). We see this active in our society today and it is further enhanced by our media. But, there are many things in life that should cause every person to be thankful! The very simplistic things are cause for giving thanksgiving to God. We need to heed the warning Paul gave to Timothy and be wary of everything that tries to cause us not to be thankful. Satan is one who tries to rob us of thanksgiving at our beginning so we lose our power and awareness of thanksgiving at the end. Keep thanksgiving a part of your walk with God and block out what tries to separate us from it.

The 10 Lepers

In Scripture, the 10 lepers cried out to Jesus for healing. On their way to the priest, they realized they had been cleansed. Of the 10 lepers, only 1 stopped and began to cry out with thanksgiving to God. There was a difference between the 9 vs. the 1 who gave thanksgiving. The 9 dealt with elements inhibiting their thanksgiving. From this Scripture, it’s important we learn their roadblocks to thanksgiving and avoid them in our own lives.

Things that Block Thanksgiving

Entitlement

Jesus dealt with entitlement before He taught about thanksgiving with the lepers. Entitlement is the attitude where we think we’re owed what we have, lost, or want. Truthfully, we’re blessed no matter what. Nothing is ours, nothing is owed to us, and we shouldn’t want anything when we already have the presence of God in our life (Luke 17:9–10).

We shouldn’t feel like we should receive “credit” for doing right for God or doing something extra. Our obedience to God is our reasonable (minimal) service! We are called to live a life that’s a living sacrifice to God at all times. There’s a problem when we think we own anything we’ve been given or have in life. Every good gift is from above (James 1:7) and everything is the Lord’s regardless (Psalms 24:1). We need to ask God to help remove this “blockage” from our spiritual heart so we can offer up thanksgiving to the One who owns and gives all things.

Comparison

In Scripture, we read about a Pharisee and publican coming before the Lord in prayer. The Pharisee compared himself to the sinful publican, stating his perceived elevated status. However, the publican, although fallen to comparison, compared himself only to God (Luke 18:10-14), identifying his true shortcomings. If we are to compare, we need to raise our gaze and only compare ourselves with God. When we try to compare ourselves with others around us, this shows a lack of trust and faith in God. When we look at ourselves against God, we realize how unworthy we are and how great He is. And, we can be truly thankful for what He has done to change our lives.

When we compare with something or someone else, we can miss thanksgiving in our “here” when we look at “there.” Goals are not bad to have, but the pursuit of “there” is dangerous. We must be able to thank God for where we are in the present. He may not move us on in life or pour out any additional blessings until we learn how to thank Him for what He’s doing now. Whatever state we’re in, we need to be content (Philippians 4:11). Our thanksgiving says, “It’s enough for now.”

Negative Attitude

The mindset of the believer needs to be yes. Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith to speak unto a mountain, it would move. You can have what you ask for if you are positive and have faith (Mark 11:23). There is incredible power in the confession of our faith, but the same is true for confession of disbelief. Jesus shared a pivotal truth in the power of confession and thankfulness. An unthankful spirit can manifest in our lives if we don’t have faith or praise God.

Regardless of the circumstances around us, we need to keep our mouths shut until we can agree with God’s will and thank Him for it. The promises of God are always yes and amen (II Corinthians 1:20). If we have a “no” or ungrateful spirit in us, we need to get to a place of prayer and fasting and allow the Holy Ghost come in an change us. Our mouth needs to confess the mind-change God wants to make in us: a grateful and thankful heart in all manner of living.

Conclusion

Because the leper turned to praise God, Jesus spoke something to him beyond what was said to the other 9. In this interaction, the leper became more than cleansed, he became whole. There is much more on the other side of thanksgiving we never get to because we’re kept back by various hindrances. Enter into God’s presence today with thanksgiving and find out what’s on the other side.