In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Isn’t it amazing how quickly the excitement of new possessions can wear off? Within days of getting all those gifts at Christmas as a young boy, I was already dreaming of what I would receive for my birthday — which was a full seven months away! All those items I saw in the Sears catalog that I didn’t get for Christmas were so fresh in my mind that I nearly ignored the toys I had received as I longed for the next round of gifts.
But the Bible tells us to be thankful! In First Thessalonians 5:18, Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God concerning you.” My parents had to teach me to be thankful. Sometimes they had to literally sit down with me, explain the cost of gifts, the sacrifices that were made to purchase them, and the importance of not being greedy. God blessed me with such wonderful parents who took the time to teach and instruct me on the most basic and elementary principles of life.
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As a mature adult, the concept of “thankfulness” is deeply ingrained into my being because my parents so deeply planted it in my character. There is nothing I have that I did not receive, and I am thankful for everything God has sent into my life and for every partner who has helped us fulfill our heavenly mission. I have so much to be grateful for!
In First Thessalonians 5:18, we are instructed to be thankful “in everything.” This phrase in the Greek language is en panti, and it means in every detail, even in the smallest way. One expositor has translated it to read, “In every circumstance, be thankful….”
The word “thankful” is the present imperative active tense of eucharisteo, a compound of eu and charis. The word eu denotes good or well and always denotes a good inner disposition or a good feeling about something. The word charis is the Greek word for grace. When compounded, the new word paints the picture of one who is so grateful that he has an outpouring of overwhelmingly good feelings about everything. Regardless of what is happening — or not happening — he has decided to be thankful.
Let’s be honest. Perhaps things could be better than they are in your life right now. However, you probably will admit that they are not as bad as they could be! The truth is, you have a lot to be thankful about — even about the smallest details of your life.
Years ago I made a decision that when anyone asks me how I’m doing, I would answer by simply saying, “THANKFUL!”
Thankfulness is a choice. You and I must turn our eyes toward the good in our lives and away from the foul things that try to hold our focus — and choose to be grateful. It’s not that we’re hiding our heads in the sand concerning those bad things; we’re simply obeying the Lord as we focus on what is good, and we display an attitude of thanksgiving “in everything.” Paul said, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Could Paul’s words be any clearer? God wants you and me to be thankful — not resentful, not forgetful, but thankful. Really, if we consider all the terrible things that could have come about in our lives but didn’t, we can find a lot of reasons to be grateful. God has spared you and me from so much — and it is His will that we maintain a consistent, thankful attitude for the goodness He has shown us.
So I encourage you to make the decision today to put away all the bad memories of the past and start purposefully focusing on the good things God has done in your life. Even if you think life has been tough, I assure you that it has not been as tough as it could have been. God has been good to you. The best thing you can do when someone asks you how you’re doing is to respond, “I’m thankful !” Keep this attitude of thankfulness coming out of your mouth at all times, and speak it with conviction. I promise you, that one practice alone will change the way you see life!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, I’ve been through rough times, but the truth is, those times could have been a lot rougher. When I consider what You have brought me through — and the place of peace and rest You’ve brought me into — I can only say THANK YOU. Please forgive me for often quickly forgetting the good things You have done for me, and help me cultivate this attitude of thankfulness in my heart, for this is Your will in Christ Jesus concerning me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that I have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, it’s true that there are things I need and desire, but compared to where I used to be and how I experienced lack, I am living in the land of superabundance. I will not be forgetful of the good things God has done for me. I purpose to keep a grateful attitude for all the things He has done and is doing for me, both great and small. And when others ask me how I’m doing, I will confidently answer them, “THANKFUL!”
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- I challenge you to pray this prayer: “Heavenly Father, when I consider all that You have done for me, to be honest, there have been times when I’ve been a real ingrate — complaining about this, that, and the other thing, forgetting all the good things You have performed in my life. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Your grace, I cannot imagine what my life would have Lord, I ask You to help me to make a list of all the ways that You have been good to me. I will post it in a place where I am regularly reminded of it to help me maintain an attitude of thankfulness.” Now make that list!
- If you have a tendency to display a lack of thankfulness, it’s time for you to reprogram your brain — that is, to renew your mind — to be grateful for all the good things God has done for y How are you going to start the process of renewing your mind to recognizing more of God’s goodness in your life?
- Have you ever met a person who is truly thankful for all he has in his life? How does his attitude of thankfulness affect you? Does it have a positive impact on you and make you wish you could be different?