What Does It Mean to Have Radical Gratitude?
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
Radical gratitude looks like this: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
Notice that the Bible says to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. There is a big difference! You don’t have to be thankful for the bad things that happen in your life. There is a lot of evil in the world, and not everything that happens in the world is God’s will. In fact, most of the time, God’s will is not done. Our will is done. So we don’t thank God for the evil in the world. We thank God in the midst of it.
Why can I thank God in every circumstance? First, because I know God is in control. I know God can bring good out of evil. I know God can turn even my mistakes into something that works out well — good can come from it. I know that I’m not going to have to live on Earth forever. I know that I’m going to go to Heaven one day. I know I can’t lose my salvation. I know that no matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving me. I could think of a hundred reasons to be thankful in any circumstance, even circumstances that stink.
The verse also says in all things. The Greek word used there is the word pos, which means any, all, everything, anyone, all the time, anywhere, everywhere, the whole thing. It means no exception, no excuses, no exemptions.
That seems pretty radical, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s radical gratitude.
It doesn’t take any effort to be grateful for the nice present somebody just gave you. Anybody can do that. But being grateful in all circumstances is radical gratitude.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. People say they want to know God’s will. They want to know what God wants them to do with their life. Well, giving thanks in all situations is God’s will for you — and the more thankful you are, the closer you’ll get to God.
Talk It Over
What are some of God’s promises from the Bible that you can memorize to help you remember how to thank him, even in difficult circumstances?
When you see other people exhibit radical gratitude in any circumstance, how does that affect you?
Why is it God’s will for you to practice radical gratitude? How does that habit affect other areas of your life?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.