Dr. Duke Jeyaraj
Thankfulness & Triumphing Over Satan Are Connected
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj
That we be thankful is God’s Will for us. Apostle Paul wrote, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thess. 5:18). He also warned that in the ‘last days’ the gang of the ‘ungrateful’ will grow big and we must not join that gang (2 Tim. 3:1-5). The writer to the Hebrews writes that must be thankful (Heb. 12:28). This thankful attitude will result in our worship of God with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29).
The command to be thankful is repeated in various ways in the Old Testament. I counted that it is repeated a total of 47 times! In the book of Psalms alone we are told to give thanks to God, 37 times! In Chronicles 16 alone we are told to give thanks four times! When we cross over to the New Testament this command is repeated through various ways another 16 times at least! I am trying to think hard which other biblical command is given so much of emphasis!
When we give thanks we copy Jesus gave thanks to the Father regularly during his earthly ministry. I counted that he did that at least three times during his earthly ministry (Matt. 15:36; 26:27; Jn. 6:11,23). And to become more and more like Jesus is the ultimate goal of our life (2 Cor. 3:18).
It is easy to give thanks when everything is fine in our life. But Job in the Old Testament (Job 1:20-21) and Anna in the New Testament (Luke 2:36-38) gave thanks, praised God and worshipped Him even during difficult times such as the loss of a loved one.
The sin of not acknowledging God or thanking Him can put us in a place where we are in the danger of being judged by God! Romans 1 warns us about this! Romans 1:21 talks about the sin of not giving thanks to God with the consequence being mentioned in Romans 1:24 and Romans 1:28 – a consequence of the work of the Spirit being effectively withdrawn from the lives of thankless people eventually so that they would further slide into unprintable sin and finally into the place of unimaginable torment, hell!
We must specifically thank God for the people he has placed in our life – our spouses, our children, our pastors, our ministry team members, etc. Paul did that (Rom. 16:4; 1 Thess. 1:2).
In the above paragraphs I have combed through what the Bible mentions about thankfulness. But I am not done yet. The most important thing about thankfulness, I believe, comes in Revelation 12:11 though the word is not specifically mentioned. There, it is written that through the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony a group of people overcame the Devil. Through the blood of the Lamb we are forgiven of sin. So when Satan reminds us of our sin we defeat him and his plans for us by saying, ‘I am already forgiven – thanks to the Blood!’ But there is another way to overcome Satan this passage speaks about. This way is call the ‘Word of their testimony’! What is that? We can overcome Satan when we testify about God’s goodness upon our life. We can defeat Satan when we start to thank God daily, say for the blessings we receive from him. Mention the five or ten or fifteen or how many ever blessings God has graciously blessed you with to God and thank Him profusely! Not just that – acknowledge to the people around me the blessings he has given you! This way the Devil will be defeated!
I know this way of beating the Devil works! Every month, a small group of people from different parts of India and beyond join my wife and I on Zoom at 11:45 pm on the last day of the month. And we take time to praise God for the blessings he gave us that month before everyone. The Devil is put to shame that way. And we enter the new month with praise in our lips. While the new month is never problem-free we experience unusual victories over Satan! Yes we have to deal with Satan till the return of Christ or till our death! But this praise method of putting Satan on the back foot really works, I can tell you that!
The month-end midnight prayer we had on 31 October from 11:45 pm to 12:15 am (half-hour) over Zoom! People gave thanks to God for the blessings they received! That way, the Devil was defeated and put to shame!
On the other hand, grumbling or complaining is like inviting the Devil to keep working in our life even more! And what is more, grumbling angers God. He sent death before the Promise Land entry for people of Israel who were stubbornly into the sin of grumbling (Num. 14:26-30). Paul reminds New Testament believers of this incident so that it serves as a stern warning, even during the post-Cross era (1 Cor. 10:10).
(This article was published in Evangelical Fellowship of India’s magazine, Aim, in the November 2022 issue; Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This ministry is reader-supported. Duke lives in Chennai with his family).