Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Most likely, you’ve heard this before. “In everything give thanks.” It is a favorite and often quoted scripture among believers. But what does it really mean? Is giving thanks give thanks in all things possible? Even in the midst of ?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24, Paul is encouraging the group of believers and instructing them on how to live life together. Although the context seems to be corporate, the principles apply equally to our private walk. Paul paints a picture of what Christian life looks like; living in love, peace, discernment, and goodness. Then he says, “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks.”
Wait… give thanks in EVERYTHING?
Sure, Paul. I’ll get right on that.
I’ll be thankful for the stubbed toe, the broken car, and the lost job. I’ll be full of gratitude for the ruined relationship, the failed plans, the hard diagnosis, and all the pain and hurt. No problem. *slaps on happy face*
What Does Giving Thanks in Everything Look Like?
God meant what He said here through Paul. And just in case you’re like me and want to make sure, this isn’t the only place in God’s Word that calls for this kind of thanksgiving. Here are a few more:
“Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” ~ Ephesians 5:20
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” ~ Philippians 4:6
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” ~ Job 1:21
Dear homeschooler, are you going through a rough or stressful time? Is giving thanks hard in this season?
Being thankful in everything doesn’t mean slapping on a plastic smile when things are challenging. It means being thankful for who God is no matter the circumstances. It means bringing a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the One who has all authority in your life. It means humbly drawing nearer to Him in gratitude for His faithfulness and provision.
Even when things are hard.
Even when you don’t understand.
Being thankful for everything means 1) trusting that there is nothing in your life that God can’t use for His GOOD purposes, and 2) giving Him glory for it.
Practicing Thankfulness in All Things
Trials both large and small will come your way. You can be sure of it. But you can also be confident that the Lord is sovereign over them all. What are the hard things in your life right now? Do you truly believe that God can use those things for good according to His will?
The truth is, the Lord CAN change the situation, but He might choose to change you, instead. The Lord is working, even if you cannot see it right now. No matter what, you can trust His timing and His purposes.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you a heart of thankfulness even in the hard times. Practice thanksgiving in all you do today. How can you do that?
- Breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness.
- Write out a list of His blessings.
- Sing to Him with a thankful heart.
- Do the next right thing, acting in obedience to the Lord and trusting Him with the results.
Will it be easy? Not always. It takes practice just like any other worthy habit you’re trying to establish. But in time, it will become as natural as breathing and eating. Through the habit of thanksgiving, God will satisfy your soul and sustain you through the trials.
When the storm has passed, indeed, even in the midst of it, you will know and love Jesus more. And there is no pursuit more worthy than that.