A Christian Tradition
Name the first three things that come to mind when I say Thanksgiving.
That’s what I thought you’d say, “Turkey, football, and a nap!”
For many people those three things are really all the holiday is about. Gorging, gang-tackling, and grabbing the couch. But I have three other things worthy of your consideration at Thanksgiving. How about, Praise, Prayer, and Purity?
Now, praise is a divinely empowered weapon for human hands. A life that is full of praise can overcome anything. The Word tells us to put on the “mantle” (cloak or garment) of praise (Isaiah 61). The instruction is to use it to replace the spirit of heaviness, fainting, or despair. When you begin to praise the Lord, you are loosing a power that elevates you above storms and trials. You are elevated to see from God’s perspective. In most circumstances praise will remove the clouds from your vision to allow you to see God’s solution to the problem. There are many Biblical examples of the results of God’s people overcoming with praise. But the key is the “doing” and not the “preparing.” The challenge for us is to use praise as a deadly weapon on a consistent basis to destroy the work of the enemy. Praise is a better weapon than any defense that will ever take the field!!!
And then there is prayer to consider. Prayer is the discipline of seeking God’s heart for the many affairs of our life. It is giving our heavenly Father the opportunity to influence our daily decisions. Jesus said in Luke 19:46, “My house is a house of prayer…” We are also told that the Church would become temples not made by human hands (that’s us folks). There is a familiar chorus that states, “Know ye not, know ye not you are the temples of the Holy Ghost.” The point is that our lives should be saturated with prayer. We should be full and running over with the life of God from the time we spend in His presence; houses that are full of prayer. We have talked and preached about it, but this is the season to do it. Paul wrote to the Colossians and said, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” (4:2). “Devote” means to “give your entire person over to; set yourself apart unto a purpose; become addicted to; apply yourself wholeheartedly to.” ‘Nuff said! Instead of napping, start praying.
Finally, there is the word, “purity.” The “Puritans” who founded the holiday here derived their name from the root word. Purity means living according to the character and statutes of the Living God. America has prospered because it has always had the Judeo-Christian ethic at its heart. Our people have been blessed because our lifestyle has honored the Word of God and our society has been structured to acknowledge and honor and emulate the purity of Almighty God. I genuinely fear that such is no longer true.
In the Scripture, Israel prospered until sin overcame a majority of the people. Israel was left to its own consequences when it ignored or denied the holiness of God. America has known and taught the purity of the Scripture, but America is desperately in need of learning once again, “to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” When you really think about it, our primary function as believers is to behold His beauty until it permeates every area of our life. Another expression that is often used to express this concept is to be “filled” with Him. The apostasy of our nation is blatant and overwhelming. We need a true awakening of purity and holiness.
There is no doubt that the Thanksgiving turkey looks so good when it comes to the table, it tastes so good when passing over our tongue, it fills our tummy ‘til we think we won’t ever be able to eat another bite. But it doesn’t satisfy for very long. Before the day is over, we’re back in the kitchen looking for a snack. Not so, the purity, the holiness of God. Beholding His beauty, permeated with His power, sated with His splendor, and meditating on His might brings satisfaction that is incomparable. Sin loses its attraction when compared to the beauty and grace of our Lord.
This Thanksgiving, as you pass the cranberry sauce, think Praise, Prayer, and Purity…enjoy, share, and be blessed.