Can You Really Be Thankful in All Circumstances?
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV)
No matter what you ask God for, you need to ask with an attitude of gratitude. You can ask God for whatever you need, but do it with a thankful heart for what he's already done.
The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). A lot of people want to know what God’s will is for their lives. But God's not going to show you step two until you do step one. Here's step one: Be grateful. This is God's will.
First be grateful for what God has already given you -- your life, mind, freedom, food. Everything you have is a gift from God! Be grateful for all of it.
The Bible says to give thanks in all circumstances. Notice it does not say to give thanks for all circumstances. There is a big difference. There are a lot of things in life you should not be thankful for. You should never be thankful for evil, for example.
It says to give thanks in every circumstance, not for, because God can bring good even out of bad things. There is a lot of bad in the world, and these days, you may see more of it than you think you can bear. You shouldn't be grateful for those things. God is bigger than sin. He can bring promises out of pain, blessings out of suffering. He turns crucifixions into resurrections.
God transforms the bad things in your life into good things and uses them for good. You can be grateful in everything for several reasons: God has a plan for your life. He can use everything in your life for good. The pain is not going to last forever. If you know Jesus as Savior, you’re going to heaven. And he's going to use even the hard things in life to build your character.
Do you know what will help you be thankful in all things? When bad things happen, don’t ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Instead, ask, “God, what do you want me to learn from this?”
When you learn from God, then you grow more like Christ. Then you’ll be able to better see how he is working in your life and give him thanks in all circumstances.
Talk It Over
In whatever your circumstances are right now, what can you thank God for?
What is one way you’ve seen God use something bad in your life for good?
How does gratitude shape the way you see your life? How does it affect your relationships?
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This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.