1 Thessalonians 5:18 in all things give thanks, for this is the desirous will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Often times we think of thankfulness in regard to things that are good. We are thankful when life is going the way we would like, when we are at peace, and when, for the most part, life is wholesome. What about the difficult times in our lives or the problematic people? Should we be thankful for them? Why would God want a saint to have a mind that is thankful for all situations?
Having an attitude of gratitude comes from knowing who we are in Christ, what God expects of us, and how God controls the situations in our lives to bring about His glory.
What is the purpose of our life? Before we were saved, our focus was to fulfill the desires of the flesh. But now it is to glorify God. We glorify God by a life that manifests His opinion of who we are in Christ. By setting our minds on God’s opinion of us and living according to His view of us, we can be thankful in any situation because when we are loving God, He will work out any situation to our benefit to make us happy; a true happiness that can only come from living a life that enjoys all the benefits of who we are in Christ.
If we are not thankful, it is because our mind is not focused on the things of the Spirit, but rather on the things of the flesh. Having an attitude of gratitude is not being happy all the time. We can be displeased about something but still be thankful.
Difficulties in our lives expose who we really are. Take a temptation for example. Who wants to face one of the strong desires that we get to do something that we know is wrong. The desire can be overwhelming at times. We know we should not do it, but we cannot stop ourselves from doing it. How can we be thankful in this situation? Don’t you know that the testing for what is good of our faith works patience? When we are tempted we find out if we really are taking God at His Word. Oh, we can say we do all we want, but what is happening when we are truly in a situation where we must wholly rely upon what God has said? When we are under an intense attack from one of our spiritual enemies are we taking the way of escape that God has provided for us so that we can bear up under the attack, or giving in and therefore not really taking Him at His Word?
What about when we face persecution for being a Christian? People speak things about us that are not true. They manipulate others around us and exclude us because they think we have an attitude of being holier than they are, when in fact we are just simply living out God’s quality of life. Don’t you know that the very fact that we are persecuted for doing what is right is a thing of grace? We are not worthy to suffer for Christ, yet God permits us the opportunity to do so because He gives us a benefit without consideration of merit.
In the situations that we will face today, how can we glorify God? Whether dealing with saved or unsaved, carnal or spiritual, kind or mean, caring or disregarding, honest or crooked people our intention should be to express a proper opinion of (glorify) God. With this perspective in mind, we can be thankful for all men, in all situation, and for all things because each one, no matter how difficult, truly is an opportunity to manifest a character that meets up to God’s opinion of us in Christ.
Since you have been raised with Christ, seek those things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your reflective thinking on things above, not on the things of the earth, for you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God
I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, and now that which I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God the One who loved me and gave himself for me.
Romans 5:2; 8:4-9; 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 10:31; Ephesians 2:1-3; 5:19, 20; Colossians 3:1-3, 17; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:11; 2:11; 2 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Peter 2:20; James 1:2-4