“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will
for you in Christ Jesus.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18 nasb
For much of my life I have been talking about the three “G’s” of living. Grateful, Generous, and Gracious are three words that should summarize the living out of our faith in a personal and tangible way.
Being grateful is the very essence of the redeemed. Everything we have in life is a gift from God. From that initial gasp for air that draws breath into a newborn’s lungs to the final exhale from an aged body and everything in between is because of the good hand of our Heavenly Father. God’s provision for us is far beyond words on a page. God has so perfectly provided for everything. It is spiritually abnormal for Christians to be unthankful.
John MacArthur wrote,
“Unthankfulness disobeys the many Scripture texts that enjoin the believer to a life of gratitude. Romans 8:28 sets forth the overarching principle: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” God’s providence—His sovereign blending of all of life’s contingencies for believers’ ultimate blessing—causes them to be thankful for everything in life, knowing that it fits into His eternal purpose for them.” (cf. Gen. 50:20; Pss. 37:28; 91:3-4; 145:9 Prov. 19:21).
Too often we are only thankful for things. Paul, while not excluding this idea, is stating a far higher view of gratitude. He says, “In everything give thanks…” which refers to all that occurs in life. In the midst of the struggles, difficulties, and bumps of life we are exhorted to “give thanks.” This is certainly not something that comes naturally but is a gracious and generous expression of the Holy Spirit living in our life.
Perhaps today you are plagued by something very difficult. I do not pretend to know all that you are going through but I am certain that God’s grace is sufficient for you. There is no mountain so high, no valley so deep, and no pain so great that God’s love cannot overcome. In the middle of the storm, by God’s grace, we can give thanks that He is with us right now and for ever.
Paul finishes this week’s verse by reminding us of the power that enables us to accomplish this part of God’s will. Remember, it is the will of God that we give thanks in everything and this is possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are lacking gratitude perhaps you are lacking Jesus.