“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
–1 Thessalonians 5:18
A major part of leading a spirit-filled life is the constant adoration of God. “In everything give thanks…” is the command glorify God by recognizing Him as Sovereign: in control of even the minutia of our daily lives. Like the verse before it, (verse 17), which instructs us to pray without ceasing, this command is to have a spirit of communion with God. Are we supposed to stop and thank God for each individual breath we take? No. But when we breath, let it remind us who is the Breath of Life. Nevertheless, let everything give us pause and draw our minds to the giver of it all.
Hard times are here again
I find it easiest for me to praise God in the bad times. Maybe even to a fault. I don’t seek Him as passionately in the dark times so much as cling to Him. I claim that He is my refuge and run to Him to hide. But what good is a servant sitting at the feet of the Master if not to do His every bidden task? Praising God in the bad times might be easy, but serving Him is not. Whereas He is a refuge, everything else is a storm: a storm for which we are to be grateful? In everything give thanks, right?
When life gets rough we run to the Father and ask Him to hold us ’til it’s over, but God doesn’t bring storms to us to scare us. Our Father uses us in the storms to conform us more into His image by the Holy Spirit working inside of us! The storm has a purpose we should thank God for. And maybe we will when we make it out… but the heart of this verse is that we would be so intimate with God, recognizing the goodness of His perfectly will, we can give thanks for the storm even while it rages on around us.
Happy times are here again
There are two sides to this coin, however. In the good times of life we can be so consumed with the work we may be doing for God that we forget to praise Him and seek His will. How many of you know that we can work FOR God and not UNTO Him. We should do our service as unto the Lord that He would be pleased in the efforts of our labors. But too often we do a right thing for a wrong reason because we think we know what God wants.
Never try to understand the mind of God! If it could be done, only God could ever do it.
His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways confound the wise. But, conversely, though we should not seek to know the mind of God, we should ever press to learn the intentions of His heart. God’s will was never meant to be a mystery, but maybe we’ve been seeking it for the wrong reasons. David said, “I sought the Lord and found Him, when I sought Him with my whole heart.” God wants every bit of you surrendered to His call, and until you’re prepared to meet His demands, you will never know His plans.
Good, Bad, and the Ugly
We’re all sinners. Me, I’m the biggest hypocrite of all of them. But God hasn’t given up on me. He is there in the happy times and the hard times; and every day I’m learning to trust Him more. In everything I’ve learned to give thanks, for I know in whom I have believed. God is beyond my highest thoughts and ruler over them all. He is Sovereign and Almighty. Therefore, whatever He brings into my life or allows to happen to me, I will thank Him and praise Him for it.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist