“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
GIVE thanks in all circumstances. Give THANKS in all circumstances. Give thanks in ALL circumstances. Yes, I did just repeat myself three times, but I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this truth quite frequently. This is one of those truths that we just wish God would have never included in His Word. Does God really expect that much of us? Why, yes He does, but it’s not something we do on our own. When we walk closely with our Abba Father, He gives us just what we need through The Holy Spirit to help us accomplish this task. It’s like a spiritual booster charge to help us walk in victory in Jesus.
It’s super easy to give thanks when everything is going in our favor, but what about those times that our life isn’t going as planned, when it’s falling apart, or when it just doesn’t seem fair or right? That’s one of those times that we really begin to question God and ask Him if being thankful is really even a possibility. Just how do we really do this successfully? Let’s dive in and tackle this super sensitive topic.
In this passage of scripture, it doesn’t say that we will like or even enjoy our circumstances. In fact, it doesn’t even mention anything about our feelings. What it does say is that we are to be thankful in all of our circumstances. It doesn’t mean that we are always going to be thankful for all of our circumstances, but we’ll be thankful IN all of our circumstances. Big difference!
With that thought line in place, that takes lots of pressure off from us. God knows that we’re not going to like or enjoy everything that happens to us. In fact, we’d be lying to ourselves and God if we tried to argue that we always loved those difficult places in our lives. He doesn’t expect us to love those places, but He does expect us to be thankful in every single circumstance that we face, whether good or bad. In our flesh, we aren’t able to do this, but with God’s power living in us, then we ARE able to do this every time. It’s not about mind over matter. It’s about letting God have full control of everything in our lives, even those places and things that seem to trip us up.
So how do we even get started in this being thankful thing? Well for me, there isn’t a subtle warm-up. There isn’t even a certain feeling that we’re going to experience before we do this. In fact, this is something that we must just dive in and do. This diving in isn’t in the shallow end. It’s in the deepest part of the ocean with no life preserver on. You don’t need a life preserver because Jesus is waiting there for you to grab His hand that is extended out to you to pull you up out of those deep waters. Those deep waters of negativity. Those deep waters of “this is just too hard.” Those deep waters that seem to want to drown you – that want to take you under. Jesus never intended you to do any of this on your own. He is waiting and desiring to give you everything that you need to be thankful in it all.
Speak it. Think it. Declare it. Decree it. You ARE going to be thankful in ALL circumstances regardless of how you feel right now. Trust God with the tough places, and watch Him do something supernatural that can’t be explained. You are going to experience overwhelming joy in spite of your hardship. You are going to watch God work in your life regardless of how it looks all because you chose to do this one simple, yet profound act – giving thanks in it all.
Don’t live one more day in the desert place of complaining and despair. Let God pick you up and bring you to this beautiful garden of thanksgiving. It’s blooming with new life in your spirit. It’s watered from the well of joy, and its fruit is always plentiful. Stay here just a little while longer. In fact, don’t ever leave. This was the place God intended you to live from the beginning. Sit with Abba Father, and experience what living in this garden just really is all about. Shalom!