“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Now I know I’m late to this give thanks thing, and I understand that Thanksgiving was yesterday, and you’ve probably already taken time to think about the things you are thankful for, but God’s will is that we would be thankful in every circumstance. Being thankful is a lifestyle. This verse is a reminder to not just be thankful when we are reminded of it on holidays like Thanksgiving, but everyday; to not just be thankful in the highs, but in the lows. It’s a great reminder that we always have something to be thankful for, there is always something to rejoice in, and that our prayers are important.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What is God’s will for my life?” I know I have. When we ask this question it’s usually in reference to something specific, like a life decision. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s God’s will for you to go to college or not, or to become a pastor or doctor or whatever it is. The fact is, God’s will is more than what we become or who we date or marry. I think it’s funny how in this verse it says at the end that this is God’s will for you. His will is that we would rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Now I’d like focus on the last one: GIVE THANKS.
When we have the mindset of thankfulness we learn to be content in every season of our life. When we ask the question of what God’s will for our life is, I think it shows a sort of discontentment with where we are or maybe more that we are worried about what will happen in the future. You might not think that outright, but I think it kind of says, ‘I’m not happy with where I’m at right now, so tell me what your will for me is.’ I’m not saying that going to God with these requests is bad and that we can’t bring our requests to God, but I am saying that when we give thanks in all circumstances our perception changes from worry to peace, from depression to joy, from dissatisfaction to contentment.
When we look at our situation, even if we are unsure of what the next step is and thank God for what he’s done, who he is, the people he has placed in our lives, the struggles and the achievements, we look at life so much differently. We may not understand why we are walking down a path that we are right now, but we can say I’m thankful that you through this struggle you are still good, you are making me stronger, thank you that this is only a season, thank you that you promise to renew my strength. It is also important to thank him in the great times. These seem like the times when it is easy to thank God, but I think we often tend to forget that all good things come from him. Like if we get a promotion at work it can be easy to take the credit ourselves, but we must always remember that all the praise and thanks goes to God.
Thankful people are the happiest people because instead of finding reasons to complain or be upset, they find reasons to rejoice and give thanks to God.
They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so I want to challenge you to write down 5 things you are thankful for everyday for 21 days. To make it easy, I’ve created a document that you can print out to write them down everyday. Here is a link to download the file: 21 Days of Thanks and Praise