One of the more challenging passages found in the Bible is the scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Notice the absolute nature of this scripture. There is no beating around the bush. There is no hedging of bets. If we try to live this scripture, we must be all in. Why? Because the second part of this scripture reads, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God expects us to have an uncompromising attitude of gratitude.
Thankfulness Is Healthy
It should also come as no surprise that having a spirit of thankfulness is good for your health and overall well-being. Research has shown that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve their health and wellness, better handle problems that arise, and build strong relationships in all areas of their lives.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions.
As believers, we know our thankfulness and praise should first be directed at God, thanking him for who he is and the promises he made to us and fulfills every day. We should be thankful for the gift of salvation and eternal life he made possible through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross.
We know we should express our gratitude for the overwhelming joy, peace, and liberty this brings us. We should be thankful for the presence of the “helper” in our lives, the Holy Spirit.
Being Thankful in Bad Times
We experience many good and wonderful blessings in our lives. But how often are we up to the almost “super human” challenge of expressing thankfulness and praise when things don’t go our way, in bad times? The challenge is remaining thankful when small things go wrong or when tragedy enters our lives.
To help us maintain a spirit of thankfulness and obedience to God’s holy will, we need to ask ourselves what we gain from our experiences, whether they are good or bad in our eyes. What did we learn about ourselves, our world, our God? Did the experiences make us stronger mentally, emotionally, or spiritually?
Getting Outside Ourselves
We also need to explore how our experiences make us more compassionate, more willing to get outside ourselves and serve others. As the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
So often we get caught up in ourselves and what is going wrong in our lives, that we neglect to see the difficulties others go through. There is nothing like opening our heart in service to bring on a spirit of gratitude. It’s a "win-win" for everyone.
Listen to God’s Words
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:26)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)
Also read: Psalm 107:1, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2
In the Words of Others
“Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is a virtue.” William Bennett
“The best way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles Schwab
“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” Hannah Whitall Smith
Think About It
Do you recall good things at night that happened that day? Do you thank the Lord for the not-so-good things?
Do you thank people on a regular basis throughout your day? Did you notice how they reacted to what you said?
Do you take time to thank the Lord for who he is and the promises he fulfills every day? Use the Psalms for inspiration.