Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This is one of my favorite verses in the New Testament.  I love this verse for many reasons.  It is such a broad verse.  I love the way it encompasses so much meaning in so few words.

“In every thing…”  Every thing means EVERY THING.  Good things. Bad things.  In between things…in all things…nothing excluded.  Wow.  I know that sounds crazy, but even in the situations that don’t feel good to us, we have to remember that God has a plan and a purpose for us.  He is allowing it either for our good or His glory.

“…Give thanks…”  Sometimes I don’t feel thankful.  I didn’t feel thankful as I watched loved ones pass away.  I didn’t feel thankful as I watched my marriage fall apart.  I didn’t feel thankful when I realized that my mother never really wanted me.  But God has taught me that in each of these scenarios, there is something for which I can reach back and be thankful.  When I lost three of the most supportive people in my life to various illnesses, I looked back on the time I spent with them and the blessings that they were to my life, and I had no choice but to thank the LORD.  When I thought about how I would not have my beautiful children were it not for my marriage, I had to give God the glory.  When I realized that my mother’s cruelty towards me shaped me into the mother I have become, I had to praise the LORD.  I have learned to give God thanks in some of the most difficult situations.  I work for a ministry that helps addicts get their lives back.  Sometimes there are success stories, and other times there are devastating results.  Either way, I have to thank the LORD that He used me as an instrument of righteousness in the lives of the men who come through our program.  I have to give God thanks.

“For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you…”  It is God’s will that you and I glorify Him with all that we do.  Nothing is for our glory….all is for His glory.  1 Corinthians 1:29 says “…That no flesh should glory in his presence.”  It is His will for us that we thank Him for all that He has done in our lives.  And there is so much to thank Him for!  If you can’t think of anything at this moment, think of the fact that Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, came to earth clothed in flesh, after leaving His throne in glory…lived a sinless life, but died a criminal’s death to redeem you and me from the penalty that our sin would have brought us, which is death and hell and the eternal grave.  Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross.  The punishment that you and I should have received, Jesus took on our behalf!  That alone is something that I thank God for every single day.  I feel that I am dishonoring the LORD if I miss a day thanking Him for taking my punishment.  It should have been me up on that cross, but instead of me, Jesus went up on that cross.  One of my favorite hymns says this:

“Jesus paid it all…all to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain…He washed it white as snow!”

Another song comes to mind that says:

“He paid it all, up on the cross.  He bled and died, ’cause I was lost.  So here I am, surrendering all,  LORD hear my cry…on my knees I fall.  He paid it all, He paid it all, He paid it all…”

Make it a point to have an attitude of gratitude today.  There is so much to be thankful for.  Thank the LORD for all that He has done.

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