We have now been focusing for 40 days on all the different ways in which being thankful keeps us in faith and connected to our wonderful heavenly Father. We can see how, in all the different challenges that life throws up for us, thanksgiving enables us to receive and enjoy the Holy Spirits’ help.
I started these blogs because I believe that, throughout this year, the Lord is wanting to ‘revive’ His people, and to help us to not be overwhelmed by some of the unhelpful atmospheres around us in the world. He especially wants to prevent the enemy from silencing the body of Christ on earth at this time, when many of our family, colleagues, friends and neighbours are feeling anxious and afraid.
Today, for the 40th blog, I felt drawn to the verses in Ephesians 5:15-21, about ‘being filled with the Spirit’. It seemed appropriate to be looking at the connection between ‘thanksgiving’ and being filled with the Spirit, because Jesus after His 40 days in the wilderness, came out from that time ‘in the power of the Spirit’ Luke 4:14.
Jesus had pushed through all the temptations, and He emerged from that time ready to minister the love of God to the world. It was soon after that time that He went to Nazareth, stood in the synagogue, and read the scroll saying ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has annointed me to preach good news to the poor……..’
I believe that over these last weeks, as we have embraced the choice to thank God in many different circumstances and scenarios, we have been honouring God. We have also been building our faith and reducing the time we allow doubt, unbelief and fear to live in our thoughts. In other words, in choosing to be thankful, we have also had something of a negativity fast.
The encouragement Paul sent to his friends in Ephesus, was to make sure that they didn’t get drunk, but instead to ‘be filled with the Spirit. To ‘speak to one another with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
I believe that this is why we can expect to be more full of the Holy Spirit after our 40 days of ‘intentional thanksgiving’. The exhortation to ‘be filled’ is in fact a present continuous verb. It is an encouragement to ‘be being filled’ with the Spirit. The connection is that thanksgiving, and singing create an atmosphere that the Holy Spirit loves and in which He feels welcome.
The Holy Spirit is drawn to faith and in fact is ‘grieved’ by other attitudes that come out of our mouths. Ephesians 4:29-32 tells us that our precious Helper and Friend the Holy Spirit is grieved by us talking in unhelpful ways that don’t build up our hearers. He is also grieved by any bitterness , anger or malice we are holding on to, but He loves a thankful heart.
Since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 3:16, let us continue to make our hearts a welcome dwelling place for Him. Let us continue to cultivate thankfulness, and let us keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit, at all times, and in all circumstances.