Thankfulness In The Face of Discouragement – HANDOUT
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year. We gather, we reflect, we EAT great food! BUT, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to be thankful.
The enemy uses anything he can in our lives to discourage.
Has it ever dawned on you that nothing has ever dawned on God? He knew before the world began that His people would face hardship, so He gave us His Word. The Book of Ephesians is a survival manual—it equips believers to thrive in a world that hates the message of Jesus Christ.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Paul tells us this for two reasons. First, the days are evil because they trick us into thinking we have more time and opportunities than we really do.
KEY: The enemy is very effective at making the Church very ineffective.
Second, the days we live in introduce evils into our lives.
- Sin is the general term for anything that “falls short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
- The sin nature leads to trespassing. A trespass may be intentional or unintentional. Peter trespassed when he denied Jesus (Luke 22:34, 56–62). Transgression refers to presumptuous sin. To transgress is to choose to intentionally disobey; transgression is willful trespassing.
- Iniquity is more deeply rooted. Iniquity refers to a premeditated choice; to commit iniquity is to continue without repentance. David’s sin with Bathsheba that led to the killing of her husband, Uriah, was iniquity (2 Samuel 11:3–4; 2 Samuel 12:9).
KEY: You will never drift into godliness, you have to be intentional about pursing God and his holiness.
Paul tells the Ephesians what they need to do in order to walk wisely:
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit
Ever since we learned to ferment fruit to create alcohol, we’ve been enamored with its ability to shield us from life’s painful realities. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, and you’ll be equipped to deal with life’s difficulties instead of avoiding them.
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord
We all need to understand the power of Scripture, praise, and worship. The key portion of this verse is the reminder to “speak to one another.” The devil can never grab a hold of our lives if we worship God habitually. Sing of the joy that is greater than your circumstances.
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul tells the church of Ephesus to give thanks always and for everything. When we respond to the Lord out of gratitude, we see the world differently.
Look at this PSALM:
Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Here we have two reasons to be thankful: God’s constant goodness and His steadfast love. When we recognize the nature of our depravity and understand that, apart from God, there is only death (John 10:10; Romans 7:5), our natural response is to be grateful for the life He gives.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Finally, the Bible says mutual submission helps us to walk wisely. When life has you down, it is even more important to be in community with other believers.
John Owen said it this way: Either you are actively killing sin, or it is actively killing you.
POINT: Being thankful is choosing to place my eyes on God, and to fight against the enemy every day.