(Article for publication week of 11-20-2014 AD)
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Dear reader, do you ever think much about what is the Lord's will for you? Well, you may know God's will for you without any mystical revelation or dream, for the Holy Scriptures tell us what is the will of God for each of us. Our text tells us it is God's will for you and I to be giving Him thanks in everything. Truly, everyone of us have much for which to be thankful.
First of all, I will point out that thanksgiving presupposes God. Thanksgiving presupposes there is a God to Whom we should be thankful. We do not have to prove the existence of God for every man knows there is a God. The image of God is stamped upon us, and we are inwardly aware that He is there through the conscience He has put in us. His signature is upon all His creation, and everywhere we look He is there. Each of us knows innately that we were created by God and we owe Him our worship and thanksgiving.
Secondly, let us observe that thanksgiving is a happy duty. If you want to be happy, I would urge you to make it your daily and continual business to be always thanking God. Giving thanks will dispel gloom and despair. It has been my observation and personal experience that those who have true joy and peace are those who recognise that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). I guarantee you it will lift your spirits tremendously to simply count your blessings and thank our Great God for every one of them. When we start counting our blessings we always find they are more numerous than we can count, and as we "praise God from Whom all blessings flow", we think of more and more for which to thank Him.
Thirdly, note well that we are to be thanking God in everything. If you are a believer, the first thing for which you will generally be thanking God is your salvation. You will be thanking God for loving you with an everlasting love. You will be thanking Christ for His glorious atoning death that put away your sins. You will be thanking God the Father for raising HIs Eternal Son from the grave and seating Him at His Own right hand where He intercedes for us. You will be thanking the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity for regenerating, converting and sanctifying you. But then you will be thanking God for all your natural blessings as well. The believer is well aware that every piece of food and every drop of water is from His Great God.
But some true and tried saint may ask, "how can I give thanks in everything? I know I am blessed above measure, as you have reminded me, but you don't know about all my troubles and sorrows. How can I give thanks in my sufferings?" Well, first of all I will remind you of God's supreme promise in Romans 8:28 to work all things for your eternal good. Secondly, I will present for your consideration that you can thank God it is no worse than it is. And thirdly, I will remind you that it will be better. No matter how bad it gets in this life, that is as bad as it will ever be for a believer. But no matter how good it gets for an unsaved man, that is as good as it will ever be. Therefore, in everything, give thanks.