Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (I Thess. 5:18, NIV)
Today, I want to send you a quick reminder for a very important Christian attitude: giving thanks! Giving thanks refers to speaking words of appreciation to someone for something they have done (or will do) – an expression of our gratitude to them. While I will focus on giving thanks to God, I also realize that a thankful heart towards God usually doubles as a thankful heart towards fellow human beings. As simple as it is to give thanks, it is an attitude that many have not cultivated because they have allowed their situation to determine their attitude.
In the Bible, thanksgiving is a command from God to every believer. We are to give thanks not only when we are happy, but at all times and in every situation. Thanksgiving is not only an expression of gratefulness, but also an expression of faith and confidence in God. This is especially true when things have not gone how we expected them to. God’s Word makes it clear that giving thanks in all situations is His will concerning us. In other words, God’s desire is that we are always in a state where we can see the good He is doing no matter what happens.
Cultivating an attitude of thanksgiving requires deliberate thoughtfulness as individuals. It often requires that we think about and mention the specific things we are thankful for – eternal life, family, friends, food, shelter and so much more. When nothing seems to be going well, a right attitude helps us to identify things we are thankful for, which then leads us to develop positive emotions as we bring our requests before in prayer. Indeed, it takes discipline to develop an attitude of thanksgiving in every situation. It does not always come naturally.
It is no lie that grateful people are more disposed to recognize God’s goodness as their hearts are better trained through practice to focus on what is going well, and not only what is wrong. Being thankful revives our spirit and renews our thinking. God’s Word does not ask us to be unrealistic or live in denial about our experiences. Rather, the Word asks us to recognize and appreciate God’s faithfulness to us in every situation. That way, we look forward to continually experiencing his goodness in our lives, as we thank Him for what He has done, and will do.
So make up your mind today to always find reasons to give thanks to God in every situation!
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalms 27:13, NIV)