August 5, 2010

 

Being Thankful Changes Everything

Lysa TerKeurst

 

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

I sat on the bed, tears streaming down my face, negative thoughts racing through my mind …  Why does marriage have to be so hard sometimes?  Why can't he see my side of things?  Why won't he change?  Maybe I married the wrong man.

This was a scene repeated over and over the first five years of my marriage.  I was discouraged, overwhelmed and so tempted to give up.  But here I am about to celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary so thankful I didn't walk away. 

Ephesians 6:12 was a great reminder to me over the years that my husband isn't my enemy.  Art may feel like my enemy but the truth is Satan is the real enemy who hates marriage and schemes against my husband and me.  One thing we must always remember is Satan's goal to be one who casts something between two to cause a separation. 

Satan wants to separate us in every way.  He wants to separate us with conflict, hurt feelings, misunderstanding, and frustrations of all kinds.  He wants to separate us from our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our parents, our spouses, our kids.  He wants to separate us from God's best.  He wants to separate us from God.

One of the best ways for Satan to start these separations is by luring us into a place of grumbling and complaining.  If he can get us to focus only on what is aggravating and negative in life, then little cracks of distance start forming in our relationships.  The grass starts looking greener everywhere else except where we are standing.

I can see this so clearly when I look back on the first five years of my marriage.  Somehow, I became so hyper focused on all I felt was wrong with my husband, I became blinded to all that was good.  I grumbled and complained and nagged and set out to change him.  And I almost destroyed my marriage in the process.  Satan had a field day as the separation between Art and I kept ever widening.

Then one day as I was in a fit of tears asking God to make things better, I felt challenged to start listing out things about Art for which I was thankful. 

It was hard at first.  I had bought Satan's whispers that there was only negative there with very little positive to find.  But, with each positive quality I listed, it slowly changed everything.  It was as if the clouds of negativity lifted and I could once again see his good qualities.  There were so many good qualities; I was shocked how I'd gotten so blinded.

How sad I spent five years thinking the grass would be greener with someone else.  Not true.  The grass is always greener where you water and fertilize it.  And being thankful --really intentionally listing out things for which we are thankful-- is a great way to start watering and fertilizing and changing everything.

Dear Lord, thank You for helping me see how beneficial it is to be aware and appreciative of the good qualities in those I love.  Lord, help me to recognize Satan's schemes and combat them with the power of having a truly thankful heart.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

What are you thankful for today?  I am inviting each person who reads this to stop and take time to list just a few things for which you are thankful by hopping over to my website. Each person that leaves a comment on my website today will be entered for a chance to win a copy of my book "Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl."

 

Be sure to check out Lysa's book and Bible study Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. This is the perfect 6 week summer study or one to consider doing with your women's group this fall.

 

To order your copy of the book, click here. To order your Bible study workbook and DVD study click here and here.

 

Application Steps: 

Every time a negative, separating thought comes into your mind today, intentionally combat it with something for which you are thankful about that person.

 

Reflections: 

How does it make you feel to dwell on what you wish was different about another person?

 

Could this devotion showing up in your inbox today be a reminder from God that there are positive things for which you can be thankful?

 

How does having a thankful heart change things?

 

Power Verses:

Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (NIV) 

 

2 Corinthians 4:15, "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." (NIV)

 

 

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.proverbs31.org