#MeditationMonday – Out of the abundance of a man’s heart, his mouth speaks.
At the start of this year, we examined 12 instructions given to us from I Thessalonians 5:12-22. We decided to implement these instructions by doing at least one of them each month. Following our list, the instruction for September is:
- To give thanks in all circumstances – I Thessalonians 5:18
He who thanks God for all things as happening for the best, will have continuous joy. [Matthew Henry’s Commentary]
Last month, we discussed what it means to pray without ceasing, and noted that Praise/Thanksgiving is the first step of prayer! We must strive to be thankful IN every circumstance because God greatly desires for His children to appreciate Him no matter what we may be going through.
I Thessalonians 5:18 – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
It is the WILL of God that you give thanks in every circumstance. Beloved, what could be greater than God’s will? Isn’t “God’s will for my life” the one thing every Christian is literally searching for? If you’ve ever asked the question, “I just want to know God’s will for my life”, well, here’s your answer: Give thanks, and give thanks in everything! When we give thanks in every situation – in the face of plenty, scarcity, good, evil, blessings, persecution, love, hate etc; it truly demonstrates our devotion to God and our desire to seek His kingdom first before all else.
Further, when Paul writes: “It is the will of God that you give thanks in everything,”, it carries this idea that a part of God’s grand design and plan for humanity is to create people who are joy-full. Scripture says that the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! God does not want an ungrateful and miserly people for himself, which explains why He considered the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites as a rebellion against Him.
Paul, therefore, is reminding us through this verse, that even though we live in a fallen world which has so much to be unthankful about, these things should not overshadow the little things for which we ought to be exceedingly thankful! It is God’s plan to create in us a heart that is full of thanks, no matter what we encounter.
We quote Romans 8:28 (often out of context) but constantly forget that those who truly believe all things are working out for their good would give thanks no matter their predicament. If you truly believed God was working things out for your good, your submission would be easy, and your thanksgiving would be endless. You would seamlessly divest your self-interests to God, thanking and trusting His sovereign hands to guide you into His best-laid plans.
“who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross”
Look to the joy set before you (Hebrews 12:2) and give thanks, no matter the circumstance. Even where change doesn’t seem to be on the horizon, let thankful endurance be what you strive for daily!
But you’re probably thinking, “that’s easy for you to say, you don’t know what I’m facing!”. Yes, I don’t know what challenge you’re facing, but I do know Christ, and He is greater than any challenge. Perhaps, you need to be reminded of this. You can strive for thankful endurance, in Christ Jesus. The only way to express thanks to God in everything is through a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. In Christ, the wonderful gift of salvation covers every circumstance and makes it possible not to allow the problems of this world overshadow your ability to give thanks for the little things!
We are but threads in the tapestry of God’s grace. We may never see the full picture of His plans so it is easy to fill our flesh with resentment and bitterness over our present predicament, but it is much rewarding in the long run to give thanks to God knowing that He is right there with us, holding our hand and comforting us through it all.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
— Isaiah 43:2 [ESV]
Thanksgiving is a verb – Have an attitude of gratitude!
Don’t be like the disciples who were fearful despite having Jesus in their boat (Mark 4:35-41). We ought to give thanks not because we like our situation, but because God is PRESENT in our situation and that’s the best news ever; a reassuring comfort and the most trustworthy solution we could ever hope for!
Grumbling is the accent of hell and gratitude is the accent of heaven.
– Jon Bloom, Desiring God.