When we normally think of the question: “What is God’s will for my life?”; we think of it in regard to a major upcoming decision. A few examples are: “Should I accept that new job?” or “Should I marry that person?” In other words, this question is usually asked in the context of where does God want me to go and/or what does God want me to do?
This is an important aspect to consider, but there is another aspect of God’s will that must not be overlooked; that is, what is God’s will concerning how He wants me to live? In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we are told: “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” With November upon us and Thanksgiving on its way, we shall spend the next three weeks discussing the importance of being thankful. God wants us to be thankful and express our gratitude. Today we will discuss to whom we are to direct our thankfulness, the objects for which we are thankful, and the circumstances in which we are to be thankful.
Giving Thanks To God
Giving Thanks is a Spiritual Sacrifice. Psalm 116:17 says, “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” One important aspect of our worship of God is our giving thanks to God. In fact, thanksgiving is a vital part of our prayer life. A helpful way to remember the different types of prayer is the acronym: A.C.T.S.
- A – Adoration (Praise),
- C – Confession (of sin),
- T – Thanksgiving (for His blessings),
- S – Supplication (Asking for your needs and the needs of others).
When we give thanks, we reflect on all the blessings that God has given to us. I hope you can see why giving thanks is an important part of prayer because when we forget to be thankful we fill that space with other sinful things. We must be careful to fill our hearts and minds with praise and thanksgiving rather than fear, pride, and envy. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” It is a spiritual sacrifice because it costs us our pride and our sense of self-sufficiency every time we thank God for what He has given to us.
Giving Thanks is our Spiritual Duty. According to 2 Thessalonians 2:13, we are under obligation to give thanks to God. I like how the Amplified Bible brings this out in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “But we should and are [morally] obligated [as debtors] always to give thanks to God for you.” In this context, the Apostle Paul is specifically thanking God for the church in Thessalonica and from this we learn the principle that we should/ought/must praise God for all His blessings. It is our spiritual duty to thank God because of what He has done for us. Even if you do not feel like thanking God, do it anyway because of what He has already done, currently doing, and will do. God is worthy of our worship and praise. He is worthy to receive glory and honor. He is definitely worthy of our thanksgiving.
Giving Thanks For God’s Blessings
We give thanks to God and we give thanks for His innumerable blessings! Here are seven reasons why we should be thankful, summarized in one sentence: Jesus saves us by grace because He loves us and He calls us to make disciples until He returns.
- We are thankful for Jesus!
- We are thankful that Jesus saves!
- We are thankful that Jesus saves by grace!
- We are thankful that Jesus saves us!
- We are thankful that Jesus loves us!
- We are thankful that we are sent out to make disciples!
- We are thankful that Jesus will return!
We could (and maybe should) spend the rest of our lives thanking God for all that He has done for us. Here are a few more: Life, Breath, Being, Family, Job, Friends, and Church.
Giving Thanks In All Things
We give thanks to God for His blessings and we thank Him in all situations. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Surely that does not mean what we think it means. All circumstances? When we read this verse, the temptation is to say: “I know that is what the verse says, but what does it really mean? Maybe if I do a google search, I can find someone who will say it doesn’t actually mean what it says.” Before you dismiss this verse, consider the great truth behind it: God is faithful. No matter what you are going through. God is faithful. The fruit of the Spirit is not dependent upon how other people treat you. Your joy and peace are not dependent upon how you are feeling. You are able to give thanks in all circumstances because God remains in control of all circumstances. Therefore, let us be:
Giving Thanks Continuously. We should never cease being thankful because we never run out of reasons to be thankful. Paul wrote that he never stopped giving thanks for the church in Ephesus (Eph 1:16). A Christian should strive to live every moment of every day with an attitude of gratitude.
Giving Thanks Spontaneously. Thankfulness should be unceasing yet impromptu. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Phil 1:3). Every time Paul remembered the Phillipians, he thanked God. Christians should train themselves to be aware of every opportunity to be thankful. Giving Thanks Tenaciously. We are to give thanks in all circumstances; therefore, we must be tenacious in our thanksgiving. There will be sinful and evil circumstances that profoundly affect you, but you must never relinquish your thankfulness to God. If you sin or if others sin against you, never waver in your gratitude to Him. God remains all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. Cling closely to Christ and trust Him in all things.