… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Discovering God’s will for our lives is often discussed and the subject of many sermons. And giving thanks is just one of the many things we can be certain is completely within the unchanging will of God. But it’s the qualification accompanying that mandate that trips us up. Give thanks in ALL circumstances.
My favorite expression for explaining continual thanksgiving is — an Attitude of Gratitude. I don’t know who first said it, but it captures the meaning beautifully.
You may be asking, “why does God expect me to do that?”
I’ll answer your question by asking you a question. Do children always think their parents’ rules are reasonable or fair? Definitely not. But why? Because they are missing the purpose or refusing to accept the reason for the rule.
God’s will is always in our best interest. Giving thanks in all circumstances can relieve us from unnecessary grief and worry. It changes our perspective, preserves our sanity, and helps us to keep going through life’s certain setbacks and trials.
The thanksgiving that endures through all circumstances is rooted in faith. We understand that our God loves us, and what He has done for us, even if He did nothing else, is wonderful beyond comprehension.
The holiday we call Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for friends and family to share a meal and give thanks for God’s blessings. But for Christians, every day should be Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and Easter.
But what about those times when the bottom drops out when we are hit with hardships and crises that bring us to our knees and seem to suck the life out of us?
For those who love Christ; faith, trust, and thanksgiving are always active. Even when we take that severe blow to the gut, they’re still there, even if barely noticeable.
Last week my grass was brown, dormant since fall. This week, it is turning green. I mentioned this phenomenon of nature to my wife — that something dead was coming back to life. Then she told me that dormancy wasn’t death, just a time for resting. At the right time, plants are renewed. And so it is with God’s believers in Christ. We go through seasons of dormancy. That doesn’t mean our faith has left us or that we have ceased to be thankful. Faith and thanksgiving aren’t always demonstrated by cheers and revelry. Sometimes they linger below the surface, still working, but not so evident for us to see.
Paul concludes his statement with the key to implementing this aspect of God’s will in our lives.… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. We maintain this attitude of gratitude because we are in Jesus. This act of God’s will can’t be conjured up or appropriated by human effort. It can only be accomplished by God’s enablement in Christ.
In those moments, when your faith and spirit of thanksgiving are weak, pray for the Lord’s enablement. Remember Psalm 51:10?… renew a steadfast spirit within me.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Make Time to Serve Jesus Christ
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.