When hard times come -and they do to all of us- we all struggle with giving thanks to God for all things when things are all bad! And we all struggle to find joy and to worship during difficult seasons. While those are normal, human responses, the Word of God, our light in the darkness (Psalm 119:105) provides a spiritual response that is a challenging contradiction to what we feel in moments of trouble. “Rejoice always,” Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica. Always?? “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.” But does that literally mean giving thanks to God for ALL things?? (1 Thess. 5:16 & 18) But what does that mean, really? Does that mean you have to stuff your emotions down, pretend nothing bad is happening and then give thanks for it??
If you’re spending more time fighting in the flesh than in the spirit, you may win the fights, but you will lost the war.
Well, certainly we are taught in the Word to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) and living life according to your feelings is the fastest way to fail at everything, but only a big phony would walk around giving thanks to God for all things evil, painful and destructive! Why? Because bad things don’t come from God! He no longer has wrath against humanity because of Jesus Christ!! If God didn’t cause it, what are you thanking Him for?? “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” the Psalmist wrote. (Psalm 136:1) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
The Bible is replete with the goodness of God and promises that His goodness will never change and nowhere in the Bible does it say that God causes bad things to happen for our “good”. He brings purpose and “works out” those bad things for our good as we walk according to His purpose, (Rom. 8:28) but it is unScriptural to say that God causes bad things when, in reality, the Bible says He is good! Living a life of blessing is available to every person who walks with the Lord, but sometimes “blessing” is a matter of intentional perspective!
So, what did Paul mean when he said we should be giving thanks to God for all things? To be clear, the Bible never says that everything that happens was designed by or caused by God. Mankind has the free will to make good and evil choices that affect us all. But the Bible does say that in those things, through them and beyond them the Lord will create good things and work out bad things for the good of those who walk according to His plan. “The will of God in Christ Jesus” is that you worship the Lord! Giving thanks to God in all things isn’t something you do because LIFE is always good, but because GOD is always good. Introducing worship into your situation will strengthen your faith, focus your mind and keep you close to the presence of God, where the real power is. This means you express your gratitude to God for who He is! And, as a faith action, thanking Him for getting you through everything (even if you’re not through it all yet), being with you through it all, being a refuge and a place to run and hide. “In everything give thanks” means “the will of God in Christ Jesus” is that you worship Him, not FOR everything, but IN everything, but because He is good!
Thought for today
Giving thanks to God in all things takes spiritual discipline because you’ll need to develop the ability to see things the way He does. It is an action that takes place outside of yourself, outside of what you’re going through and outside of what you feel. Worship cannot be based on how you feel or, let’s be honest, most people wouldn’t worship because they’re too overwhelmed, hurt, angry, tired and busy. Worship is a lifestyle. It’s a spiritual discipline and a spiritual weapon. D.L. Moody once said, “The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle to fight.” Worship is war. “In everything give thanks” is the will of God for you because He wants you to win! If you’re spending more time fighting in the flesh than in the spirit, you may win the fights, but you will lost the war. Give thanks to the Lord in everything by worshipping Him, and you’ll find that the hardest part of the battle has already been won!