Lately God has been speaking to me through Ephesians 5:20, which says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I have read this scripture many times, but recently as I read it, I gained a better understanding of what it really means to give thanks always. Certainly, we should be “giving thanks always” in our personal, private lives, but “always” also means we should exhibit this same attitude of thanks when we come together with others.
It’s sad to say, but many times when believers come together for fellowship, conversations turn into something that’s not even close to thanksgiving. Instead, negative things are said, such as:
- “That person is impossible to get along with.”
- “Did you hear what So-and-so did?”
- “I am sick and tired of this and that always happening.”
- “I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this.”
As I was reading this verse in Ephesians 5, I suddenly realized that you and I can turn any conversation into words filled with thanksgiving instead of gossip, complaining, and negativity. Wholesome conversation is crucial to experiencing victory in our walk with God, so why wouldn’t we want to do this? Bad reports bring a souring effect to our heart and soul and can affect our whole day and even our attitude and mindset.
Have you ever experienced being part of a negative conversation? Maybe you were having a wonderful day praising God and looking forward to having lunch with someone you really liked. Then lunch began, and the conversation took on a tone that had everything but praise in it. Eventually you realized that your happiness in sharing a lunch with someone vanished somewhere between “Hello, how are you?” and the waiter bringing the soup! Subscribe to Denise’s 28-Day Journey Email Devotionals! Because we have the presence of God in our lives, we can very politely bring change to those kinds of conversations. Every time a person says something negative or critical, we can say something praiseworthy.
Look at Philippians 4:8, where the apostle Paul wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit about things that are worthy of our thoughts, our meditation, and our speech.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
As you can see, everything we’re supposed to be thinking on is good. And since our thoughts are to be focused on good things, our speech should also be filled with good things — with uplifting words of thanksgiving and praise. If we follow this scriptural principle, you and I can change the flow of any conversation — not to mention the outcome of everyone’s mood at the end of that conversation!
Think of it this way. God inhabits our praises (see Psalm 22:3). His presence comes when we are praising Him. He wants to be in our midst when we are using our mouths to give thanks and glorify Him. But what about when we’re gossiping, backbiting, complaining, or being critical? God doesn’t share His wonderful presence with that kind of negative talk.
If we really love the people around us, we should desire to bring good into our conversation with them. There is such an enormous blessing in lifting each other up when we come together and bringing praise to every conversation. God’s presence will abide with us, and because the Holy Spirit is not grieved, He’ll be able to comfort and minister to everyone involved. Let’s resolve to be people whose speech is always seasoned with thanksgiving and grace (see Colossians 4:6)!
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In His great love,