With Thanksgiving week upon us I want to focus on what it means to me to “give thanks in all circumstances.” My life verse is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God brought this verse to my attention at a time when I was really struggling with understanding God’s will for my life.
It is the little word in a verse that so often contains a big part of the meaning. Paul is not saying to be thankful FOR all circumstance but rather to be thankful IN all circumstances. Like joy, our thankfulness needs to be based on our relationship with Christ rather than the external circumstances of life.
* I am not thankful that I was addicted to pornography. I am thankful that God has broken the chains of that addiction and that what Satan intended for evil God is using for good.
*A person is not usually thankful for a job loss. But in that circumstance they can be thankful that God continues to provide and meet their needs.
*Someone diagnosed with cancer would not be thankful for the illness. But they can be thankful for accessible health care and the support of family and friends.
Regardless of our circumstance we can gives thanks that God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us, that nothing can separate from the love of God, and that God gives us the strength we need.
There are no guarantees that life will be easy. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” That is the perspective that will help us learn to find a reason to give thanks in every situation.
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In “whatever I do” for me means:
* Thanking God for the opportunity and ability to walk as I enjoy a crisp morning stroll.
*Thanking God for the talents and ability that allow me to earn a living.
* Thanking God for a car and the skill to drive it as I take our daughter to school.
And the list could go on and on.
What are you thankful for today? And how can you find something to be give thanks for IN all circumstances? Please join me in praying 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Precious Father, please help me to be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. Amen.
Please Note: My daughter just walked in the door from college for Thanksgiving Break and my parents arrive tomorrow. If they want a place to sleep I need to shovel out my office tonight so we can pull out their bed. If this blog seems familiar it is because I posted it right around this time last year. :) Have a blessed Thanksgiving filled with good food, family & friends!