Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians that we should always give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We know from previous blogs that God is sovereign, wise, good, and we can trust Him. We must trust God in times of adversity. In this way we honor Him. When we trust God, we receive deliverance and peace from our primary concern as we honor Him. Our response to the trustworthiness of God; “I will trust God”, is tangible evidence that we display when we truly and completely trust God.
Paul says to give thanks in all circumstances. We must be thankful in good times as well as times of adversity. In all circumstances whether favorable or unfavorable to our desires we are to be thankful. Thanksgiving is not a natural virtue, it is produced by the Holy Spirit that God gave us: Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The non-Christian will welcome circumstances that are in accord with his wishes and will complain about those that are not. It never occurs to him in either case to give thanks. The non-Christian sees life as anything in addition to change. He will congratulate himself for his successes and blame others for his failures. The non-Christian never sees the hand of God in his life. One of the most revealing statements in Scripture: Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Thanksgiving and prayer are an admission of dependence. It is an admission that God controls the physical realm as well as the spiritual realm. Acts 17:25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
God made us alive in Christ Jesus when we were dead in our transgressions and sins. Everything we are and have we owe to God’s bountiful grace. 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? God’s children are to give him thanks in all circumstances both the good and the bad.
Luke 17:11-19 Jesus Christ healed the ten lepers. All ten cried out to be healed all ten experienced the healing power of Jesus Christ. Only one came back to Jesus to thank Him. We are prone to be like the nine lepers quick to ask for God’s help, but negligent in giving thanks to Him for the healing. Our forgetfulness in giving thanks is natural. We have a spirit of ingratitude because of our sinful nature. We must cultivate a new spirit; the spirit of gratitude that the Holy Spirit has implanted within us. We know that all ten lepers should have returned to give thanks to Jesus. We may acknowledge that many times we have been like the nine. We know that we should be like the one that returned to acknowledge his gratitude. We know the right thing to do even though most often we fail to do it. We have no problem accepting Paul’s directive to give thanks in all circumstances. At times we have difficulty accepting Paul’s directives are when circumstances are difficult.
Suppose one person is healed from cancer while another contracts cancer. Paul’s directive is that both Christians should give thanks in all circumstances. Giving thanks must be learned and enabled by the Holy Spirit again Galatians 5:22-23.
What circumstance in your life has occurred that you should have been thankful for but failed to thank God for His sovereignty?