The Power of Thanksgiving
Christians often ask the question, “Lord, what is your will for me?” For 99% of us, God’s will is already revealed to us in the word and can be discerned by the spirit of God.
Today we are going to look at one aspect of God’s will which was echoed in the worship today. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ““give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Giving thanks in good circumstances is easy. But the Bible says, in all circumstances- in personal as well as circumstances which don’t affect us directly. We hear about train accidents and what is happening in Manipur, when we hear about Ukraine and the devastation there, how do we give thanks? We are to give thanks IN every situation, not FOR every situation. Our faith is in the God who never changes. God can bring good out of evil. We cannot understand everything but we have hope.
How is Thanksgiving the will of God for us?
There are over 75 references in the scriptures instructing and commanding us fit to give thanks. What flows from our mouth generally is complaining rather than thanksgiving. Often our conversation is full of grumbling. Col 3:18; Eph 5:20; etc., all instruct us to give thanks.
Thanksgiving changes thinking. We need to be overflowing with thanks for everything. A gratitude journal can change your spirit. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
At every step of the way, we are there because of God's protection over us.
Expressing thanksgiving to people. Express gratitude in the family and in friendships.
We all have difficult situations that come and go.
A situation of lack: Matt 14: 15-18 “As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” Matthew 14:15-19 NIV When you give thanks for what you have he can give you what you need.
In dead situations: “Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:38-44 NIV.
Today you might be dealing with situations that are of lack or are dead. But as we trust in God more than our situation, we are able to give thanks. Romans 4:18-21 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” In our dead situations, we give glory to God.
The will of God for our lives is to be thankful in every circumstance. It’s simple yet powerful.