Thankful - Don't Be Shaken

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 22, 2012 0 comments

I think the word "shaken", or maybe even "rattled", would be a great way to describe the way most of us spend our major holidays. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or one of the other ones where we actually invite friends and family to travel and spend time with us, meals, preparations, and scheduling often take precedence over remembering the reasons why we celebrate. Perhaps there is no holiday more affected than Thanksgiving. Not only is it in the middle of the week, which gives most people less time to complete all that they need to DO before guests arrive, but it is also immediately followed by the biggest shopping day of the year, when people actually fight over material things because of discounts and availability. As you read this on Thanksgiving Day or in the days that follow, you may even find yourself rushing through it to head off to something else that needs your attention.

In addition to being "shaken" by our schedules and arrangements, we are also easily rattled by the trials that we face. While holidays are generally times of celebration, the hardships that we are facing are more than likely illuminated around the holiday seasons. It may be because you have fallen on hard financial times and simply cannot afford all the wonderful things that you generally enjoy this time of year. Maybe it's because this is the only time of the year where you have to deal with the irritations of your family members or have to hear about how well everything is going in their lives when you feel like yours is in shambles. Possibly, the holidays are more difficult because you have experienced the loss of a dear relationship or family member this year and the grieving process is not quite complete. Holidays have been tough for me for several years now because both of my brothers are married with kids and I am still single. I still see my family of origin sometimes on holidays, but more than anything I long for the day that I can celebrate with my own family and see the joy on my children's faces.

So as you can see, there are many things that cause us to be "shaken" emotionally, spiritually, and even physically around the holidays. But truly, we have reason NOT to be shaken! The Lord led me to 2 different Scripture passages in the last week that I thought I'd share with all of you. Check out Hebrews 12:28-29. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire'". The unknown author of Hebrews (many think it was Paul or Peter) had just got done explaining God's promise from the Old Testament to remove everything that can be shaken - created things - so that all that is remaining is that which cannot be shaken (vv. 26-27). The author explains to Jewish Christians who were facing intense persecution that we have so much to be thankful for and so much to worship God for because of the unshakable kingdom we are receiving. If you want to know more about that kingdom, check out our blogs from last week on "Kingdom of God". How this translates to our daily lives is that we also have many reasons to thank God no matter what trials or frustrations we are facing this time of year. God is still God and if we have accepted his son Jesus as Savior and follow him, we have access to an unshakable kingdom no matter what comes along to rattle us!

But how do we keep that focus and prevent ourselves from falling into the trap of the enemy that causes us to be ungrateful and possibly even angry toward God? Well, the answer is found in Colossians. Paul writes, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6-7). As you read those words in your mind, were you automatically placing emphasis on the strong action words like "live", "rooted and built up", and "strengthened"? I certainly was. Friends, it's impossible to spend the majority of our lives being easily rattled and then suddenly flip a switch when it's time to give thanks. The only way you can maintain an unshakable attitude giving glory to God is by being "rooted and built up" in Christ Jesus as Lord. Don't miss the AS LORD part there. We so often consider "Lord" to be a part of Jesus' name, but the reality is that until Judgment Day you still have the choice of whether or not to make him Lord of your life. If you make your trials, your plans, your family, your relationships, your frustrations, or anything else your Lord, you are guaranteed to be SHAKEN. Making Christ the Lord of our lives and allowing our roots to be built on that truth allows us to have joy in all of those other things and to remain unshaken by them. Paul emphasizes the importance of remaining in Christ in the very next verse, one which has been underlined in my Bible for a long time. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ". Once again, we all know that we are surrounded by "hollow and deceptive philosophy" this time of year. We have the biggest day of the shopping year, a day when there is generally at least one story somewhere in the country where someone is literally KILLED over a desired item, just one day after we are taught to be thankful for what we already have. It's not our responsibility to change the philosophy of the world. If those twisted ways of thinking existed 2,000 years ago when Jesus and his disciples walked the earth, we cannot expect anything different. Our responsibility must be to maintain awareness of such philosophy, while remaining in Christ to keep ourselves from being deceived. If you think about all of the things I mentioned earlier that cause us to be rattled, you'll realize that every single one of them is basic to THIS WORLD. Let's remember that we are receiving an unshakable kingdom! As you celebrate this day with friends, family, or maybe even alone, allow yourself the time to remember all that you have to thank God for and set your roots in the truth of Christ Jesus as Lord. Have a happy Thanksgiving and DO NOT BE SHAKEN!