Giving thanks (1)
Giving thanks infuses joy and resilience into our daily lives. When we leave out gratitude, our faith becomes hollow and empty, and we end up just going through the motions rather than following God from our hearts. Being grateful might not always seem logical to us. But when Paul said, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,’ he wasn’t saying that every circumstance we encounter is necessarily God’s will. He also wasn’t saying that we have to give thanks for the bad circumstances we’re going through. Instead, we need to learn to thank God through them and in spite of them. Here are two reasons that might lead to us facing difficult times: 1) We’ve strayed from God’s path and allowed ourselves to get caught up in ungodly or harmful things. 2) God might guide us to face something challenging because it’s part of the fulfilment of His plan or He needs us to learn something. But whatever the reason, there’s always something we can thank Him for. If it’s the first, we know that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him’ (Romans 8:28 NIV). God might not have designed the circumstances, but He can bring something good out of them when we choose to turn back to Him. We can thank Him for the positive things that He’ll bring out of the situation. If it’s the second, we can be thankful for His teaching and for walking with us through the things we’re facing. We don’t need to be thankful for the circumstances we’re in, but we should learn to thank God for what He’s doing in us because of them.
Start a ‘thankful in all circumstances’ journal. Whenever you’ve faced a difficult situation, make a note of anything you learned and any good things that God brought out of it. Use your journal to remind you to stay thankful next time you’re going through a tough time.
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