How Can We 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).
In both the U.S. and Canada, we celebrate a day of thanksgiving once a year. But God wants us to be intentional about our thankfulness every day. He wants us to develop this spiritual habit, one that is reflected in the life of a radical believer. The more deeply you understand God’s love, the more grateful you’re going to be.
So, what does it mean to be radically grateful?
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). That’s radical gratitude. In every circumstance give thanks, because it’s God’s will for your life.
You can thank God in every circumstance because God is in control. He can bring good out of evil. He can turn around the worst mistakes you’ve made. No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving you. You can find a hundred things to be thankful for in any circumstance, even when the circumstance stinks.
Radical gratitude—being thankful in all circumstances—is God’s will because it creates fellowship.
What do I mean by that? Gratitude always builds deeper relationships between you and other people and between you and God.
If you want to get closer to someone, start expressing gratitude to that person. If you’re feeling distant from your spouse, you need to start doing what you did when you were dating: Express gratitude. Write little notes of kindness and encouragement. Make calls or text during the day, just to tell your spouse that you’re thankful. The reason you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling is because you stopped doing the things that created that lovin’ feeling early on, and you take each other for granted.
Do you want to build your small group? Don’t just go to your gathering. During the week, text or email or call or write the people in your group. Say, “I’m grateful for you, and here’s why.” You’ll find that the more grateful you are for your group, the more your group will bond.
The Bible tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). As you build others up, you’ll find that God also builds into your life through your deep relationships with him and others.
Talk It Over
How can you encourage or connect with a specific person this week?
What are some simple, specific ways you can express your gratitude to your spouse, a friend, or small group members?
As you develop an attitude of gratitude, what changes do you think you will see in yourself and your relationships?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.