If you’re like most people, the hustle and bustle of Christmas has a way of robbing the holiday of its rightful focus. As you go through this Christmas season, there’s one thing you can do that will help you see more of what God is doing in your life throughout the Christmas season (and beyond). It’s a simple thing, really, and carries many benefits…and it requires only a little bit of discipline.

Let’s start with a story from Jesus’ life.

       11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
     14When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

     17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you whole.”
Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)

As they were going – they were cleansed.

But one man, after being cleansed returned to Jesus and gave thanks. Jesus said to this man “your faith has made you whole.”

Notice the difference in the words used in this passage – ten men were cleansed; only one man was made whole.

There’s a difference between being cleansed and being made whole. The word translated “made whole,”sodzo – means so much more than cleansed. It means “made whole in mind, body and spirit.” It is translated throughout the New Testament as “save” or “saved.”

An Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and used the word in this passage:

20b “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save (sodzo) his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20b-21 (NIV)

It doesn’t just mean cleansed from the disease of leprosy, it means made fully whole – spiritually healed as well as physically and emotionally.

What was it that made him whole – that saved him? Jesus said it was the man’s faith. When the word is translated more fully, the phrase would read “your reliance on Christ” has made you whole.”

But what about the other nine? Did they not rely on Christ? It would seem not. It would seem that somewhere between Jesus saying “go, show yourselves to the priests” and the one man returning to give thanks the nine didn’t make the faith connection.

  • Maybe they simply rushed past the event in their excitement of being healed and didn’t recognize that it was Christ who did the healing.
  • Maybe they thought it was a crazy coincidence.
  • Maybe they attributed the healing to their obedience instead of God’s hand. Now I don’t doubt that their obedience impacted their healing, but if their attitude was “I was healed because I was obedient,” that’s not faith – it’s not relying on Christ to be made whole.

This passage only identifies one man as having made whole and that’s the man who returned to give thanks to Jesus. I don’t want to stretch Scripture too far, but what I see is a direct connection between an attitude of gratefulness and being made whole. Don’t misunderstand me – it is our faith in Christ – our reliance on Him – that saves us. Rather, the direct connection I’m making is that somehow, gratefulness, being thankful, changes our heart and puts us in a better position to receive God’s great gift of salvation.

Check out this verse:

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, [says the Lord,]
and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God.”
Psalm 50:23

Wow! Scripture says that giving thanks, prepares the way for God to show us His salvation. I love this verse. It has such significance.

  • Do you need physical healing? Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
  • Do you need emotional healing? Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
  • Do you need rescuing from your enemies? Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
  • Do you need to experience the presence of God? Has He seemed distance? Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
  • Are you looking for a way to stay Christ-focused this Christmas? Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

In all cases it honors God and prepares the way so that He may show you His salvation – healing of mind, body and spirit.

Practice it today – give thanks. Then practice it tomorrow. And the next day and the next day and the next day. Develop a lifestyle of honoring God by giving thanks and He will show you His salvation in greater and greater ways.

Be blessed as you bless God, friends.

Tomorrow’s blog – More about how giving thanks opens the way for God to show us His salvation!

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