1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This scripture is very important in all of our lives. You must keep in mind that God has a master plan for you. He knows what is best for you and you just have to trust in him while also thanking him along the way. I know this is hard to do sometimes when things don’t go your way. Especially when you really want something but don’t get it. But if you keep giving thanks and remain faithful, the Lord will work it out in your favor.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so no one can boast.”
You know what I love? Control. I want to be in control of my future, my time, and myself. My overly controlled life can easily become full of achievements and totally fresh out of grace. So often, I feel like I need to fix myself. I forget that God already knows my checklist tattered heart. Luckily for me, this faith is “not by works.” God knows every anxious thought and loves me all the same. Now, that is something to be thankful for! Today, give thanks for the things that don’t go your way. Since we can’t boast of our own works to try to earn God, we know our favor with Him is not resting on these either. Let yourself be joyful as you celebrate the reminders that Grace already loves you fully, no achievements needed.
I want to start off my message this week by saying that being thankful, much like faith in Christ, is a choice that everyone must make for themselves, and it isn’t always an easy one at that. I know how easy it is to take for granted life’s good things. The clothes on my back, the food and water that I consume every day, and the roof under which I sleep are just the first items on a very long list of blessings that don’t receive enough of my appreciation, and I’m betting that I’m not alone. If it is so hard for us to be thankful for God’s material blessings, then how much more difficult is it for us to appreciate his spiritual gifts? It sounds tough, but that is what God is asks of us, particularly once we come to faith in Christ. Hebrews 12:28 says that “since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful.” This unshakeable kingdom isn’t something that we can see, hear, or feel, but it is among God’s greatest blessings. So yes, please be thankful for all the material things you have, but even more so, thank God for the things he has given which are unseen, because they can mean so much more in the end.
In this section, the church is being encouraged in their transformed identity through Jesus and taught practical actions of how to live out this identity. To me, this passage is saying that a major piece of being a new creation in Christ is thankfulness. When something is repeated in Scripture, that means it is important; being thankful is repeated in 3 verses in a row! I think that thankfulness helps to keep our pride in check-we need to be thankful because without Christ we are nothing, we have nothing, and we can’t do anything-and our souls in a state of praise. As you go through your day, try to find intervals (hours, classes, etc.) for you to think of 3 things for which you can give thanks. For me, something that simple can make my mind focus toward God and positivity!
“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.” -Philippians 4:6 (CEB)
Stressed about classes? Same. How many times have you complained about your workload or your life to your friends but haven’t taken the chance to give those requests over to God? God wants you to bring your problems to him, whether it’s something as small as your homework assignment due tomorrow or something as large as what your future holds. He’s caring enough to handle your small problems and he’s mighty enough to handle your big problems. However, don’t forget to give Him thanks. Not when He solves your problems, but when you bring the problems to Him. Why? Because He’s willing to listen to us and because, no matter what happens, He’s still in control and He’ll work all things for the good of those who love Him. Praise God for that!