Friday, 1 September 2017
…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
It can often be hard to be thankful in this life. Family and friends die, we get ripped off by others, sickness and trials are always just around the corner – or maybe even in the room with us now. For these, and seemingly countless other reasons, giving thanks seems impossible. But when offering thanks in such times, we are truly fulfilling what is right and proper.
When we really and fully trust that we are where we should be, and when we can acknowledge that God knew we would be there, then we are demonstrating that we believe God is fully in control, even in the worst of circumstances. In giving thanks at such times, we acknowledge that He has something better planned for us, and we trust that it is true. Thanks then are a demonstration of faith. And they are not just for times of trouble, but even in the often more ignored times of abundance.
When things are going smoothly, we often forget to stop in our comfortable tracks and say, “Thank You God.” We get so caught up in the fun, that He becomes an afterthought. And so Paul admonishes us to “in everything give thanks.” Truly this is pleasing to God, because it is an ever-present acknowledgment that He is there with us. It is, as noted, a demonstration of faith. And as the Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Obviously then, with faith we are found pleasing to Him.
Paul then continues with, “…for this is the will of God.” In verse 4:3, Paul said that the will of God is our sanctification. As much as it is God’s will for us to be holy, so it is God’s will for us to be thankful. In being thankful, we will remember our connection to Him, and we will then desire to be Holy. These logically support one another. This state of thankfulness exists in the person who truly believes that God wants the best for him, and that the best is yet ahead. In our bad times, and even in our very best of times, we are to be thankful for the life we have been given – the spiritual life which has been granted because of the work of Christ. As Paul says, our thankfulness is God’s will “in Christ Jesus for you.”
Nobody on the planet would consider being thankful for bad times, ill-health, death, or other negative instances unless they saw that there was a good end because of them. In Christ, there truly is a good end for them. God’s love is fully and perfectly demonstrated in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and therefore, that love continues to be demonstrated now as we anticipate His coming again to bring us unto Himself.
Life application: A few (of the many, many examples) of the other times that thankfulness is mentioned for us to consider are found in Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 4:6, and Hebrews 13:15. Take a moment to read those verses and consider them in the context they have been written. After this, be sure to be thankful in all things.
Lord God, today let us just stop and give You thanks. We have needs, but we know they will be met. We have hopes and desires, but we know they will be fulfilled according to Your wisdom. And we may have pains and trials, but these are a part of the life You have ordained for us. Through these things, we offer You both our thanks and our praise for Your immensely kind hand upon us. You have given us Christ Jesus, and so we are filled. We thank You in everything because of Jesus our Lord. Amen.