|Posted on November 21, 2018 at 11:00 AM|
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5: 18). This command seems impossible! I am to give thanks for everything that has or is going on in my life? Even the painful stuff? Even the bad stuff? You’ve got to be kidding me! Maybe I could give thanks for annoyances or aggravations if they don’t last too long, but I certainly can’t be expected to give thanks for the really bad things that happen to me, can I? Evidently, Paul knows something I don’t know as he gives me the assurance that what I’m thankful for is the “will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”.
Let’s take the worst-case scenario…you lose your job, your home, or someone you dearly love. How does knowing that “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” explain why I should give thanks? That seems to add insult to injury, like rubbing salt in a wound. What does he mean by that statement? And how does that help me give thanks for the bad stuff? Clearly, I’m missing something here since I know that God is good, and he loves me all the time. It’s at this point that we are tempted to shrug our shoulders and give up trying to figure out how we can keep this supernatural commandment.
Instead, let’s start from the beginning. First, the command is to give thanks in everything, not just for the good or bad stuff. While this point may seem a bit trivial, commanding us to give thanks in everything describes an attitude of gratitude for our lives as a whole, not just specific events whether good or bad. It’s more like saying be grateful for your existence in this world. Add to that the reason we exist in this world is to fulfill the will of God in Christ Jesus and we have some hope concerning our existence. The true meaning and purpose of our existence in this world is “in Christ Jesus” meaning that we live to be Christ to others. It is for our “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” that we are giving thanks.
In order to do so we must break away from the natural mentality of the world that says we are here to have a good time, avoid all problems, get rich and famous, and live happily ever after. Because of who God has made us to be in Christ and the calling he has given us to be Christ to others (the will of God in Christ Jesus) we can give thanks for far more than the temporary pleasures of this world. The satisfaction we experience from fulfilling the will of God in Christ Jesus far outweighs the temporary satisfaction offered by this present world. Even in the bad stuff we find the comfort of the Spirit that provides us with overflowing love, joy unspeakable, and the peace that passes all understanding. In everything we give thanks because we know we cannot possibly lose.