Monday, December 04, 2006

In Everything Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 –Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Is it possible to give thanks in everything? Many people think not, but we Christians know God’s word is true. It’s important we not only believe this truth, we also need to embrace it wholeheartedly.
We may be able to quote the scripture above, but the question is, is it reality in our lives? This is not an easy concept to apply, but there is no easy button, except maybe at Staples.
I remember the first time I was challenged with this truth, and the struggle which followed. I’d read a book about praising God during difficult circumstances. At the time I was experiencing a great deal of pain, and taking a pill every other day to relieve it. The day after I took it, I felt fairly good, I could move a bit without pain. But on the day I took the pill it was difficult to move to even get out of bed.
I developed a poor attitude, not only did I dread getting up on the “bad” day, I didn’t want to go to bed the night before. After reading this book, I went back to God’s Word, and found there were many verses confirming this truth.
I then had to decide what I would do with it. My choice was to praise God no matter what I felt like. So each morning before getting out of bed, I sought to change my muttering complaints – to do this I set my focus on God above, remembered His previous goodness to me, and then praised and thanked Him for the coming day. As I said previously, it wasn’t easy, and I didn’t always succeed, but I did begin. And this is one of the most important things we can do – begin.
After practicing several days I noticed a change in the level of my faith, it grew stronger. Eventually I improved physically, but what a difference our attitude makes. No wonder we are commanded to give thanks.
I believe this is one of the best kept secrets in Christianity. But it shouldn’t be, because it’s there in plain sight. We just need to believe it. There are reasons we don’t do this: we pay more attention to our feelings than we do to God’s Word we don’t trust God to provide for our needs, it looks impossible, etc. All these are summarized in one thing, we don’t really believe God’s word.
You may think it’s somehow easier for me, like I have more faith than others, I don’t. But early in my spiritual journey, as I was seeking truth, I made a decision -- God’s word had to work. This is why I have faith, because God’s word does work, it’s effective and powerful in the lives of His children, as they believe and put their trust in Him by obeying and acting on His word. We cannot twist or change that word or coerce God into acting on it, but as we submit to Him, trusting Him to be faithful, He answers our prayers and our trust in marvelous ways.
Ephesians 5:18-21 – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and make melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
This scripture confirms the Thessalonians passage. In both we’re told how we can thank God when our world is falling apart? The answer is to abide in His presence (focus on Him and His total goodness) and trust that no matter what comes into our life, God is able to turn it around for His glory and bless us with it.