- How to Pray to Change Lives – Part One
- How to Pray to Change Lives – Part Two
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part One
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part Two
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part Three
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part Four
- How to Pray to Change Your Attitude – Part One
- How to Pray to Change Your Attitude – Part Two
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
How seriously do you take the commands of God? I know that when that question is asked, there are some who will immediately think of the Ten Commandments, and that’s good. However, there are more commands in God’s Word than just the Ten Commandments.
One of those commands is found in the text verse. This command is a very simple command; and it is easy to understand. But, I have a confession to make – I don’t always find this command easy to obey.
Let’s read it again, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” You may want to ask, “Pastor, what do you find to be difficult in that passage?” I want you to notice, “The words ‘in everything (or in all circumstances).’” If Paul had said, “In most things, give thanks,” I would have no problem. It is the fact that Paul said, “In everything (or in all circumstances),” that gives me trouble.
Paul gives similar admonition in (Ephesians 5:20), “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I may be expressing more of my humanity than you want to know, but I have trouble giving thanks for everything that comes my way. When those times come, I remind myself of what God’s Word says in (Romans 8:28). “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” If I believe what that Scripture is saying, and I do believe it, then I will do what God commands in the Scripture. I will give thanks to God in everything, and for everything, because I know that God is going to work all things together for my good and His glory.
Many of us could use an attitude adjustment. I know that all of us struggle with a bad, or negative, attitude from time to time. Our attitude will determine our outlook on life. Paul says: It is God’s will for you and me. God wants us to give thanks in everything (or in all circumstances). He did not say it would be easy. He did not say we would always feel like it. He said: It is My Will that you give thanks to Me in all things.
If you think about the Apostle Paul for a moment, you will realize that he did not always have the best of circumstances come his way. As a matter of fact, when he wrote these words, he was sitting in prison. So, Paul understood what he was asking. For Paul, giving thanks was a way of life. As children of God, we should have similar attitudes.
I. Why Should We Give Thanks to God in Everything (or in All Circumstances)?
There are four reasons why we should give thanks to God in all circumstances:
First: When we are giving thanks to God, we are telling God that we are aware of His continual presence.
There are times when we simply forget that God is with us. It can be in the good times as well as the bad times. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the good things of life that we forget that God is with us.
I remember reading a story about a young lady who went on a double date with one of her friends. She and her date were riding in the back seat talking about what a wonderful time they were having, when the driver pulled up in the parking lot of a disco club. The driver turned around and said, ‘I would like to go in here.’ The young lady in the back seat said, ‘I have a friend with me that wouldn’t like that place.’ Her date replied, ‘Oh, I won’t mind.’ The young lady looked at her date and said, ‘I wasn’t talking about you, I was talking about my other friend, Jesus. I’m a Christian; and Jesus wouldn’t like that place.’ This young lady was aware of God’s continual presence.
Sometimes we allow our bad circumstances to blind us of this truth. When things become difficult, we sometimes ask, ‘Where is God?’ When the storm clouds of life darken your sky so that you can’t see the Light of the Son, you need to remember that He is still present, even if you see no evidence of His presence.
I remember flying from Houston to Arkansas in a storm. We were all waiting patiently, when all at once, we broke through the clouds. The weather was calm and peaceful. And guess what? The sun was shining. The storm clouds and bad weather had darkened our sky, but it had not removed the sun’s presence from the sky. We just had to climb above the storm clouds and bad weather to see it. Maybe that is what God is working in us to do (Phil. 2:13) – Climb a little higher, get a little closer to Him, in order to get a glimpse of His wonderful Glory.
Second: When we are giving thanks to God, we are announcing to God that we are Dependent on Him.
When we are thanking God, we are acknowledging that God is the Source of our blessings. When we are thanking Him, we are acknowledging our absolute dependence on Him. It is an act of submission on our part to thank Him for all things. We are saying, ‘God, we need You to help us to make it through this difficult time of our lives. We need You to give us the strength to make it. We can’t make it on our own; we are forever dependent on You for strength and guidance to make it through life.’
Third: When we are giving thanks to God, we are saying: God, we Trust You.
When I am thanking God I am expressing my trust in Him. “Lord, I am not sure I understand what I am going through, but I am going to trust You with the outcome of this situation.” When we give thanks to God during those times of little understanding, we are placing our trust in Him.
Fourth: When we are giving thanks to God, we are telling God that we understand what He is Doing in our lives.
We may not understand what we are going through, or we may not understand life’s problems. But we can understand that whatever is going on in our lives, God is in control, and is working in our lives to accomplish something. When we give thanks to God, we are acknowledging our dependence on Him. When we are going through a difficult time and we continue to place our trust in God, it strengthens our relationship to God. We discover that our peace is not found in the absence of difficulty, but our peace is found in the strength we have from our relationship to Him.
In the next devotion (Part Two), not only is God strengthening our relationship with Him, you will see He is also building character in us.