Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5 16-17
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only does it usher in the holiday season and encourage family time, but it uplifts my spirits in deep ways. The giving of thanks always does. This simple act influences how I respond during any day more than anything else I do.
Want to know God’s will for your life? Be thankful! Not just at Thanksgiving, not just for the good things in life, but IN the course of every day and in the midst of everything!
Nothing illuminates Christ more – or allows us to hear Him more clearly – than when we maintain a thankful mindset IN whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things in life. But what about the not-so-good things: disease, mental illness, learning disabilities, injury, marital affairs, financial ruin, theft? Trying to be thankful for dreadul circumstances feels anything but authentic.
But Paul did not say to give thanks for everything. Rather, he told us to give thanks “ IN everything”. Paul’s life was rooted in knowing that his God would provide a provision for every problem He faced and that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
How different would our lives be- and that of our family- if we entered each day intentionally with praise and thanksgiving? We can be too consumed with the cares of our natural lives to even enjoy life. As parents we can be too consumed with the cares of our children to even enjoy them! Praise and thanksgiving restore joy. Nothing points others- and especially our kids – to Jesus more than the presence of unconditional joy in our lives.
Is the quality of your day based on the actions of others? When your spouse lets you down, do you find your attitude going sour? When your kids disappoint you, does your mood change? When a friend misrepresents you, do you harbor resentment? When the unexpected happens do you grow anxious? Reacting in the natural is easy- it is our nature to do so. Learning to respond with joy and thanksgiving is a spiritual response, initiated by an act of the will, knowing that God can use any experience for His glory and for your good and the good of others. It is God’s will for each of us to maintain a right attitude even when we have every “right” in the natural to be frustrated and downcast.
Do you want real change to happen in your life and in your home? Do you want to know God’s will for you? Then:
1. REJOICE always! Despite circumstances, a Christian always has grounds for rejoicing because not only is God sovereign but He is good, faithful, kind, loving, merciful, just and ETERNAL!
2. Pray without ceasing! We are to consistently look to Jesus rather than to our circumstances.
3. IN EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!
IN doing so you will find that:
- Your spirit is uplifted!
- Your perspective is changed!
- Your load is lightened!
- Your heart is warmed!
- Your emotions are healed!
- Any root of self pity, self absorption, anger, grumbling, complaining and discontentment is driven out!
- You grow more intimate with Jesus!
It is a deeply spiritual experience to intentionally and purposely turn your back on a problem and face God instead with joy. In doing so we “enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and into His courts with praise,” where we quit listening to that worrisome stream of one-way conversation that plays around and around in our minds.
I can cling to self sufficiency and pray for the strength to manage my life, OR I can pray for the will to do what is already made available to me. I can walk out God’s will for me one day at a time and the way to begin is with a thankful heart.
Rejoice in the LORD always. Again I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The LORD is at hand. Be anxious for nothing but IN everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.