“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
In these verses, Paul gives us some pretty straight forward commands. He says that we should rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. Because the instructions are so plain, there is really no excuse we can make up to try and get around obeying these commands.
The one I would like to explore today is the last command that instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances. For us to do this, we have to be intentional in cultivating a heart of thanksgiving. True thanksgiving will flow from a heart that is full of thanks. The Bible tells us, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) When our hearts are full of thanksgiving, we will then be able to truly give thanks in all circumstances.
Giving Thanks in the Good Times
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17
Every good thing in our lives, was given to us by our good good Father. It doesn’t matter what it is. From the smallest thing to the most significant thing. It all comes from the Lord. We can think of being blessed with healthy children, having a job, having food in our refrigerator, or having a pillow to lay our heads on at night. We can easily take these good circumstances from our heavenly Father for granted. Since we don’t deserve any of it, we have to make a conscience effort and choose to thank the one who gave us these good things.
Your heart can be full of thanksgiving in the good times because you are aware that the Lord has given you every good thing you have. Knowing this truth about your Father, should begin to create a heart in you that is truly thankful.
Giving Thanks in the Hard Times
We all know that is much easier to be thankful in good circumstances rather than the hard ones. But the command given in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. Whether it is easy or not, we are to give thanks, even in the hard times.
When test and trials come our way, our first response may not be to give thanks for that situation. But during the hard times of our lives, we can still choose to give thanks. We can do this because we know the Lord will waste nothing. Every tear, every heartache, every hard circumstance will be used for His glory. We have to know that each trial has its purpose.
Oftentimes we get stuck with seeing the here and now, and we don’t realize that the Lord sees the WHOLE picture. We have to trust his perspective. Even when the trial doesn’t make sense to us, we have to know the Lord will make all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28). The Father will use every experience we have and will not waste anything. We can begin to thank God in the hard times because of these wonderful truths.
Reasons to be Thankful
So whether our circumstances are good or bad, the Lord desires for us to give thanks no matter what. And if we really think about it, as children of God, we have plenty of reasons to be thankful.
We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. We have a Savior in Jesus Christ who took ALL of our sins away. We have been reconciled back to the Father and now we have His precious Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of us. Our past sins have been forgiven, and our future is completely secure in Christ Jesus.
We have much to be thankful for!
I encourage you to begin to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving that will allow you to give thanks in all circumstances.
- Have you been able to express thankfulness in all circumstances? If not, what can you do practically to begin to express thankfulness?
- What are you most thankful for today? Take time to write a few things down and truly thank the Lord regardless of your current circumstance.