In Everything Give Thanks (November)

Julie Peterson


Give Thanks Challenge 2014Throughout November, KBR is hosting our annual GiveThanks! x7 Challenge. Join us as we thank the Lord each day, for seven things we are thankful for. You can write these things in your personal journal, or share them on our private minigroup. More info on the challenge is here. We’d love to have you join us!On the topic of thanksgiving, Christianna shares how thankfulness is so important!
In Everything Give Thanks

by Christianna Hellwig

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Have you ever thanked God for something for which you could see no purpose? It is easy enough to praise God joyfully for some great blessing which we’ve wanted or appreciated. But have you ever bowed your head and prayed, “Lord, I thank you that my brother just splashed mud all over my freshly ironed church blouse?” Have you ever softly whispered, “Father, I want to thank you that I am sick and have to sit here at home instead of going to the autumn fest?” I doubt too many of us have.

It is perfectly Biblical to ask for things; in fact Paul tells us, “let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” But have we ever spent a time in prayer simply thanking God for every single situation that is going on in our lives, whether we like them or not?

To be thankful is one of the hardest things we can do, because it requires humility and selflessness. And if you were to name the root of most of your sins what would it be? Probably, pride and self love!

We see the theme of ‘sacrifices of thanksgiving’ sprinkled liberally throughout the Scriptures, because the giving of thanks is a sacrifice. To thank God, instead of asking, is sacrifice on our part: we sacrifice our desires, our idolatrous interpretations of what life ought to be like, and, most importantly, our pride and self love!

I have read that there are four states of thankfulness:

  1. Constant complaining; grumbling constantly because there seems to be nothing good in our life.
  2. Ungrateful; not complaining, but not thanking either, as in the case of the nine lepers whom Jesus healed.
  3. Thankful for the good things; thanking God for the obvious blessings in life but not for that which is unwanted.
  4. Thankful in everything; taking the good and bad alike with a thankful heart.

Which state are you in? I fear I find myself far too often in the second and third categories, sometimes in the first, and exceedingly rarely in the fourth.

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Of course the question may be asked next, “Should we thank God for sin and evil? Should we thank Him for a killing or a stealing?” I think the key verse in this case is Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The thought here is that every circumstance will turn out well for us who are Christ’s—no matter whether it is good or evil. So if we know that every thing will turn out well for us, why shouldn’t we thank God for every situation He brings our way? In light of this, pray, “I thank you, Lord Jesus, that you have caused this situation to happen to me; help me to learn from it.” We’re thanking Him that He can use any circumstance for our good.

I want to encourage every one of you to spend this next month thanking the Lord for things that, may not necessarily be things you wanted. What often happens is, as soon as you thank the Lord for it, you begin to find joy in it. I used to be extremely ungrateful for the fact that I had four younger brothers and no little sister. I didn’t care for boys and wanted a little sister who would look up to me as I looked up to my older sisters. About five years ago, I began to thank the Lord for my brothers and now, I can truthfully say, I wouldn’t trade them for a younger sister at any time, simply because that’s not what the Lord has given me. He gave me brothers and once I began to thank Him for them He granted me contentment with them. This leads to an extremely important point: with thankfulness comes contentment.

Amanda Hage

If you ever find yourself discontented, start thanking the Lord for whatever it is you’re unthankful for that moment. Not only will you start to see all the good in the situation, but you will also begin, very soon, to feel satisfied and content.

Another benefit, is that the constant thanksgiving will be a cure for any discouragement you may have in your life. When we are discouraged, we are willing to grasp onto anything that coddles our emotions and makes us feel hopeful instead of clinging to the truth. This is why discouraging thoughts must be nipped in the bud before they blossom into something ugly; try thankfulness as the clippers. If you are discouraged about how you behaved yourself one day, for example, start thanking God for all the times that you didn’t mess up! If your heart begins to sink at the sight of a ‘C’ on a Science test thank God you didn’t get a ‘D’. When we’re thankful, the petty annoyances and upsetting experiences that happen in life shrink down to their proper size.

This doesn’t mean that we try to pretend like the frustrations and troubles don’t exist in life; they do, and they are upsetting, but they are not our masters. We have the privilege of being able to say with John Newton:

I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I want to be, I am not the man I hope to be; but by God’s grace, I am not the man I used to be!”

In conclusion, remember that if we were not able to give thanks in every situation, the Lord wouldn’t have commanded us to. And though we live in a fallen world, there is always something wonderful in every mishap—something we can praise God for with a joyful heart.

Thank Him, right now, for your eyes to see His many blessings!

-Christianna Hellwig {Guest Writer}

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