We live in a dark and broken world, however, we who have experienced God’s deliverance not only have the freedom from our past darkness but the hope of a glory filled future in Him. The transformation of the mind is an essential part of preparing ourselves for the glory of the coming Kingdom.
In the story of God’s redemption of Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, God reveals the ‘structure’ of worship in the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle. As expected, there were the sacrifices that were offered to make atonement for sin because of the people’s continued imperfect condition. But Leviticus 7:7-14 includes a provision for sacrifices of ‘thanksgiving’ as an expression of worship. What would God need with sacrifices of ‘thanksgiving’ if He was only interested in ritual perfection of the worshiper- why would you need to go beyond the atonement? But God doesn’t merely call us to perfecting our deeds under the ‘law;’ His purpose is to use our circumstances to transform our worldview to one where we see things from His Kingdom’s perspective.
God was already pointing to the necessary transformation of the mind and attitude of His redeemed. The response of gratitude to God for the redemption He made possible was part of cultivating a different and new perspective on life. It is ‘Thanksgiving’ as an attitude expressed in sacrifice that cultivates the loving relationship God desires between us and Himself.
Prior to redemption, the person held in bondage has no ability or reason to have thanksgiving as part of their worldview. They are surviving day to day under oppression with no hope of anything changing for the better. But not us. Our deliverance from bondage to sin and the guilt over the past is God’s ‘down payment’ so that we have assurance that He will complete the process until His full Kingdom has been made our reality, and while continue to experience of hardship associated with living in a broken world, our Thanksgiving is our heart responding to the hope in God’s promises that continue to be fulfilled even if it hasn’t come to completion yet. When you read the account of the children of Israel wandering for 40 years in the wilderness and the grumbling and complaining along the way, I have to wonder how many times the priests had someone show up to the Tabernacle to make a “Thanksgiving sacrifice.”
Continue to recognize and pay close attention to those things that God has already done, and make the ‘giving’ in your life a declaration to your own soul of how bountiful His love has been poured out over you. Don’t miss out on the joy by performing just some religious duty.