“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Did you thank God today? For what, you may ask?
For anything other than your last meal.
Sometimes I can go an entire day without remembering God even once, much less thanking Him for His many gifts.
It is so easy to forget in the relative safety of the Western Church just how dependent on God we really are. No one is trying to kill or imprison us for our faith. Comfort can breed complacency. We need to combat this potential with the truth of God’s Word.
The right perspective
One of my favourite verses when thinking about being thankful to God is the first part of Acts 17:28: “For in Him we live and move and exist.” You are alive today by the power of God. You got out of bed today, perhaps took a shower, got dressed for school or work, and ate breakfast all because God is actively sustaining you. You exist because He continues to will that you exist.
Realizing this gives a completely new perspective to Jesus’ words, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” When you remind yourself just how much God has given you and just how much you need Him for everything, you can’t help but thank Him.
An attitude of gratitude
I want you to try something for a minute…
Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and take five deep breaths. With each breath, I want you to simply pray “Thank you, Jesus.”
Go ahead, do it now. Seriously, stop reading and do it. I can wait.
For most of us, being able to breathe is probably at the top of the list of things we take for granted. However, each breath you take is a gift from God. Taking time to thank God for this most fundamental necessity of life can help remind us to have a heart of thankfulness.
Whether it is the air you breathe, the new day’s sunrise, or the embrace of a friend or loved one, thank God today for something you normally take for granted.
When times are tough
It’s easy to thank God when everything is “as it should be.” But chances are some of you reading this are going through some dark days right now. What do you do when you just don’t feel like saying thank you for what’s going on in your life? Here’s two things to think about:
- God not only said to give thanks in everything, He also said in Ephesians 5:20 to give thanks for everything. James 1:2-4 tells us that we should “consider it a great joy” when we face hard times because God uses those hard times to strengthen our faith. For reasons we will not always understand, God uses difficult circumstances to make us more like Jesus. As Paul said in Romans 5, hard times refine our faith to produce endurance, proven character and hope. We should thank Him that He cares for us enough to grow us in our faith and not leave us as we are.
- Remember the example of David. In Psalm 116, David is praising God for rescuing him from death. In verse 17, David tells God he will offer Him a “sacrifice of thanksgiving.” Sometimes saying thank you to God in hard times is really difficult. Acknowledge this difficulty to God, and then thank Him anyway.
Remember his sacrifice
When all else fails, there is always one thing you can thank God for: the sacrifice of Jesus for your sins. You were once God’s enemy, but now you are His friend. You were once a child of wrath, but now you are a child of righteousness. You were once destined for eternal death, but now you have eternal life. Even in your darkest hour, you can thank God you don’t have to face that dark hour alone.
Praise God, and thank you Jesus!
“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me”. (Psalm 50:23).
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