Life is a battle, isn’t it? We are caught between two armies, ‘self’ and spirit, fighting to the death. Some days we give in to the side of ‘self’ and our lives fill with misery. Other days we side with spirit and feel joy in our relationship with Jesus. This is our world and what we face daily as believers, but we can overcome in this battle through thankfulness.

What if I told you there is a super powerful weapon you can use to blast ‘self’ right out of existence? Would you want that? Read on.

Thankfulness and 'self'

Uncompromising Faith - Battle Strategy: Thankfulness - Misty BoatGod has given us, in His Word, very real, practical tactics to defeat ‘self’ and end its reign of terror. It is a simple truth that there is immense spiritual power in thankfulness. With gratitude anyone can neutralize the enemy called ‘self’. ‘Self’, however, will “not go gentle into that good night.” It tries to convince us to spiritualize the strategies God gives to neutralize them. Being thankful is no different.

As long as our thankfulness is a religious recitation or an empty sop done only on Sunday then it will not be effective. To work against ‘self’ thankfulness has to rise from our spirit in praise to God.

A testimony of suffering

Mid November 2011 saw us alone, huddled in the woods of eastern P.E.I.; homeless. Light rain was coming down and a strong wind was blowing as we huddled under a few blankets and bits of pitiful cardboard. Cold, shivering and sick, our misery was immense. ‘Self’ wanted us to focus on ourselves and how miserable we were. From there we would get depressed, angry and frustrated at God.

This is a common strategy ‘self’ uses when we are in difficult and trying circumstances. Whenever things get tough, like conflict, pain or suffering, ‘self’ wants us to focus on ourselves. It feeds on this attention and grows exponentially with each trial. This is exactly what must NOT happen.

To counter the overwhelming thoughts of ‘self’ that come in difficult situations, we need to learn how to be thankful.

Focus on God

This is not the gratitude learned in Sunday School or church. That kind of thankfulness is as about as useful as a two legged table. God wants us to learn gratitude that comes from focusing, not on ourselves, but on Him. Too often people tell us we need to be thankful for what we have. This kind of thankfulness is an extension on ‘self’ because the focus is still on us.

True gratitude focuses on God and who He is. When we have learned that thankfulness it will kill ‘self’ faster than a New York comeback. In the woods of P.E.I. we literally had nothing to be thankful for in our circumstances, or so it seemed. Sitting there cold, wet and miserable, we forced ourselves to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord's Prayer

The brute force of thankfulness

We forcibly turned our thoughts to God. With the Holy Spirit giving strength to our spirits, we engaged our free will to pressure our minds and our hearts to focus on God. This was a battle, and we literally had to rip the reins of our will from ‘self’. Viscerally and emphatically we made our minds and hearts focus on our Lord. The battle was difficult, but it was critical in deciding who would be in charge, ‘self’ or spirit.

We chose spirit. After praying the Lord’s Prayer we sang Jesus Loves Me. Again we were making conscious, forcible decisions to focus on Jesus; not on ourselves. With no ammunition ‘self’ backed down. It wasn’t quitting the war, but it had lost the battle. At this point, we engaged the super weapon of gratitude.

You see focusing on God, instead of ourselves, at that critical moment, put ‘self’ on the back foot but did not knock it out. The knock-out blow came from the spiritual weapon of thankfulness.

Thankfulness and endurance

By looking at God, we saw His goodness and could ‘enter in’ to gratefulness. That thankfulness lifted our spirits off the cold, wet ground, to the very streets of heaven where we could see Him in spirit. ‘Self’ didn’t have a chance and slunk away, cut by a crushing defeat; not dead, but dying.

There was no physical change in our situation. Our bodies were shivering, our teeth chattering, and there was no physical evidence of God’s presence. Yet He was there, with His angels, in spirit, watching over us as a mother hen watches over her chicks.

Jesus is with us in the trial

He never promised to remove us from misery, He promised us He would go through the misery with us.

Big difference. Our choice was to change our perspective. Instead of getting angry at God for not delivering us, we needed to see that He was in the pit with us. By focusing on Him, being grateful for who He is, we defeated ‘self’.

Being thankful starts with what we focus on.

Where is your focus?

Uncompromising Faith Battle Strategy: Thankfulness Volcano

Focus on ‘self’, regardless of the situation, and we will be miserable. Focus on Him, regardless of our situation, and our emotions will flow with praise and gratitude for who He is. The focus paves the way for thankfulness to erupt, like a volcano, from the spirit within. We won’t be able to stop praising Him once it starts. The difficulty lies in getting that volcano started.

Focusing on God and thankfulness are choices.

They carry tremendous spiritual power to defeat satan and ‘self’. Connecting with this power is a simple act of our will; a basic choice for spirit. Make this choice and God will meet us right where we are. Choose for ‘self’ and we will be alone and miserable.

True gratefulness is hard work at first. It is difficult to implement, for gratitude is counter to everything we learn in this ‘self’ addicted world. If we persevere soon we will enter in to thankfulness and defeat ‘self’. The rewards are immense and it will open up avenues of joy you never knew existed. Try it. We dare you.

Blessings,

Homer and Wanda

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Thank you Homer & Wanda. I appreciate your explanation of thankfulness as a weapon to defeat the ever present self. I recently was reminded while in prayer that I needed to be intentional with gratitude. It is a choice. This post is a great reminder that we need to renew our mind. Blessings.

    1. Homer Les

      You are very welcome Jacquie. We are continually surprised at how few really understand that much of our walk with Him is deliberate and intentional. Wanda and I were just discussing how engaging the will is so important. Yes, Jesus does so much for us but He is looking for us to actively follow His will. Gratitude is a part of those intentional steps. When we choose to follow Him like this we will own the lessons. Like anything, what we pay a price for, we will value much more. Thank you for the comment.

  2. Peggy Piercefield

    Wow amazing post! I am thankful God is with us in the storms of life! Praise God!

    1. Homer Les

      Thank you Peggy. We are very thankful too for His wonderful provision and love. Bless you!

  3. DeborahMarie

    Thankfulness precedes the supernatural peace that comes from a God. I am amazed how God fills us with His peace when we praise Him! We miss the blessing when we make the choice not to be thankful and grateful. Thank you for sharing your story with us?

    1. Homer Les

      Amen DeborahMarie! It really is about His peace, isn’t it? To live in that peace continually is what this life of faith is all about. You are so right that His peace comes through when we praise. Yes! You are most welcome. Thank you for your comment. May you be blessed as you follow Him!

  4. ourkairosnow1017

    Reminds me of the Prologue in “The Last Temptation of Christ” by Niko Kazantzakis
    Spirt and Soul. The white and black doves in the dualities war within. It is in the nurturing within us, the embracing in love that which is fallen within, that we cease the war and overcome.
    Love overcomes all adversity
    Jesus plus nothing is everything

    1. Homer Les

      The cartoon God gave us long ago was an old native tale of the fight between two wolves within us. When asked which one would win the wise elder simply replied, “the one you feed.” We have never forgotten that simple truth. Thank you for the comment.

      1. ourkairosnow1017

        Yes, Your the first person I met that remembers the cartoons. Amazing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.