Feast for the Spirit

Tim, Dad, and the Turkey

Thanksgiving time is a great time for reflection in general. One can’t help but notice all the time, effort, and money that goes into preparing and presenting the annual Thanksgiving Day feast. It’s also amazing the sheer joy people seem to get anticipating the joining of friends and family to spend time together and enjoy an awesome meal. Not even the masses of people or long check-out lines at the discount shopping center can dampen the enthusiasm because…we will soon chow down.

I wonder what would happen in all of our lives if we gave the same time and attention to a daily feast for our spirits. 1 Peter 2:2-3 declares, “You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness” (NLT). What if we prepared a feast for the spirit man daily like we do for Thanksgiving? What if we spread out the Bibles, the notebook, the devotional, the teaching CDs or DVDs and ate until our spirits were filled to overflowing…everyday?

As physical strength comes from the digestion of food in the body, so spiritual strength comes from the breaking down of the Word by the Holy Spirit in our spirits. This is how true life comes – the God kind of life mentioned in John 10:10, AMP – “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” We can tell we are feasting well spiritually when we are experiencing the overflowing life of God. If not…we just need to eat some more.

The Power of Giving Thanks

I heard a comedian last year talking about the fact that no matter how great life is in the modern world and no matter how many technological breakthroughs we have, people today are never grateful. I was cracking up as I listened to him describe the fact that people sit on a plane complaining about the two-hour trip when the same journey by rail would take days or they gripe about the very slight delay in powering up a cell phone (he was careful to point out that the signal is traveling to space and back). His presentation is a reminder to all of us that the prevailing ingratitude in the world is not the result of adverse circumstances or insufficiency, but a reflection of the condition of the human heart.

The famine of gratitude in our nation and in our times is actually a direct fulfillment of the prophetic word given to Timothy by the Apostle Paul who wrote, “BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane (2 Timothy 3:1-2, AMP).

The grateful person is appreciative or thankful for the benefits received from God, for everything we have starting with our forgiveness and restoration is the result of the favor of God. The level of gratitude in our lives indicates our measure of spiritual health. That being the case, some believers should be on life support.

Ungrateful people are complainers or whiners. There’s always something wrong to gripe about. They tend to be lustful and lascivious (and old KJV word that means that these people just can’t seem to find the brakes of restraint). They are typically never satisfied, unable to keep promises (covenant breakers), critical, unfair, adorned with a chip on the shoulder, unmotivated, overstimulated, and selfish. In fact, the root of ingratitude is selfishness.

As you reflect on the goodness of God this Thanksgiving season, consider four reasons we need to cultivate gratitude in our lives. First, gratitude is God’s will. Remember Paul’s command to be joyful always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). Second, gratitude leads to contentment. Prov. 30:15-16 speaks of the leeches that have a very simple vocabulary. They cry out, “give me, give me.” The leeches in the world are takers and not sowers, but gratitude helps us to be contented and thankful while we wait for our sowing to bear the fruit of increase in our lives. Third, gratitude makes prayer effective. Phil. 4:6 teaches us that we need to add thanksgiving to our petition if we want the peace of God while we are waiting for the answer to prayer to be manifested. Finally, gratitude brings full restoration. We should never forget the lesson of the leper that received healing, but unlike his nine friends, returned to Jesus to give him thanks and praise. The others were healed, but this man received soundness and wholeness in every area of his life. Gratitude is the difference between being touched and being totally transformed.