November 21 I Monday
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:18
In the opening verse of this devotion, Paul gives us a very good reason for why we ought to “give thanks in all circumstances” because “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It is God’s will that in every situation, we are people that give thanks.
Giving thanks is vital to our well-being. Psychologists tell us that gratitude and thankfulness are the healthiest of all the human emotions there are. University of California’s Professor of Psychology Robert Emmons tells us, “There is a whole cluster of related characteristics that seem to go together—optimism, hope, gratitude and happiness. Some of these are based upon early life experiences and on positive relationships with other people, but my research shows that gratitude, primarily, is a deliberate attitude. In other words, it’s a choice that we make.” Many of us may think that the reason to be happy and optimistic is because everything around us is going well—plenty of money in the bank, good job, nice wife, well-behaved kids, the sun is shining. But Emmons goes on to explain, “Very little of a person’s sense of well-being has much to do with their circumstances. Rather it depends on an inner attitude of life and a spirit of gratitude.”
Not only is gratitude psychologically healthy, we find verses throughout Scripture that encourages us to have an attitude of gratitude—giving thanks. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Colossians 3:17 goes, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” In the book of Revelation, there are a few references to the crowd standing around the throne giving glory, honour and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and lives forever and ever.
We cannot read through the whole Bible and not know that a vital ingredient in a wholesome healthy Christian life is a spirit of gratitude, giving thanks in all circumstances. This includes being thankful in the good times and the bad times. Paul was a living proof of this as he spent many years in prison, being tortured, flogged and beaten; he was even shipwrecked, went without food, was stoned and left for dead. Yet, despite everything Paul went through, his response was thanksgiving to God, not for the circumstances but in them.
No matter what kind of circumstance we may be in or experience in this coming week, the call of God in Christ is that we have an attitude of gratitude. May we cultivate this attitude towards God in all circumstances.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for all things in my life—whether good or bad, I choose to give thanks. Please help me cultivate an attitude of gratitude towards You in all circumstances. Praise You!
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