Thankfulness appears to be on the decline in our modern society. For Christians however, thankfulness is not a suggestion but a commandment. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thes. 5:18) If God commands us to be thankful then surely it must be important. We may wonder with the many troubles and trials in the world in which we live, how can we cultivate a thankful spirit? What is the source of thankfulness in our lives?
With so many trials that can bring difficulty, sadness or loss in our lives, how can we “in every thing give thanks”? Notice that the verse doesn’t say for everything give thanks, but in everything give thanks. Our perspective needs to be altered so that we view our trial differently. The latter part of the verse says it is the will of God concerning you. We must accept that the will of God has permitted the trial, but God has not abandoned us. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28) While the trial may not be good, God has promised to bring good from everything that he allows in our lives. If we love God, we will obey and honor Him. If we are saved, then we are called according to His purpose and God has a plan for our life. We can be thankful in everything because God’s plan is always good.
What about the source of thankfulness? When we’re discouraged it seems that thankfulness is the last emotion we can muster. Because it is the will of God for us to be thankful, we can exercise thankfulness by faith. That means being thankful even when we don’t feel like it. In doing so, we are obeying God’s word. Remember, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb 11:6). If nothing else, we can thank Him for saving us and that we have eternal life. Nothing can take that away! Faith has to be exercised for it to grow, just like the muscles in the human body. Once we start thanking Him, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit will bring many other things to our mind for which He is worthy of our praise.
Being thankful is vital to the Christian life. If we’re not careful, trials can rob us of our joy. Unbelievers don’t understand how we can be thankful in our trials because they don’t know Him. He deserves our thanksgiving and praise because He is faithful and true. Vocalizing our thankfulness builds us up in our spirit as well as uplifting fellow believers. When we assemble together to worship or privately spend time in prayer, don’t forget to be thankful. We benefit ourselves and encourage others when we thank God for His goodness. Let Thanksgiving become a way of life.