“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
Two Challenges from This Wonderful Verse
First, the challenge of interpretation. Let’s think about how we think about this verse. Is this verse implying that everything that happens in life or to us is God’s will? Simply, no! Think about how you think about the juxtaposition of these phrases in the verse. The phrase ‘this is God’s will’ is not tied to circumstance (‘everything’). The phrase ‘God’s will’ is tied to giving thanks. What difference does it make? In my opinion, it makes a Heaven of a difference!
If you believe ‘everything’ or every circumstance is God’s will, then it implies God wanted THAT CIRCUMSTANCE TO HAPPEN TO YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONES. Then you have a bigger problem of why a loving God would want an evil, sinful, or destructive event to happen in our lives. That it happened does NOT make God the author of it. There are other agents involved in life: man’s free will, the devil, and the imperfect world, to name a few. So every circumstance is not necessarily or absolutely the ‘will of God.’ Let’s be clear about that!
But giving thanks to God, in any trial, is certainly ‘God’s will,’ according to this verse. Why? Giving thanks is our worship in faith. It’s our heart attitude and declaration from our lips that we trust God to bring good out of the worst. Giving thanks can turn our hurt into a healing. Giving thanks to Him opens our hearts to receive His love, and to see blessings in ways we could not ordinarily experience.
Secondly, the challenge of application. How do we give thanks? Hopefully every day! Do we verbally give thanks in our devotional times with Him? Are we grateful as we go through our day? Do we mentally list the problems, the thorns, the sufferings and confusion, and give thanks in them? As we receive blessings and breakthroughs, do we immediately give Him praise with our hearts and lips for them? Or do we just think that a blessing was “luck” or coincidence?
In both the blessings and bumps of life, we declare that Jesus is Lord, He is bringing good out of the worst, He is bigger than any storm, and He blesses both now and later.
To end this article…..a brief testimony:
I received a wonderful gift today. I can’t believe God in His infinite mercy would grace me with such a gift. I really don’t deserve it, but it was given to me. I am more than grateful; I am ecstatic. To be honest, though, in my joy or casualness, I didn’t spend time thanking God for it! I may have some problems with this gift, depending on circumstances beyond my control that come with this gift. I do have incredible choices with this gift, and I hope I handle this gift with grace, and don’t blow it. While receiving this gift falls into the category of “good,” I do know things could go “bad” (from my perspective) with this gift. But I will give thanks for future good that will come from present bad, trusting in God’s great ability to work on my behalf to turn it all for good. I am grateful that this gift has many possibilities, allowing me to bless others. I am humbled that such gifts still abound and are available to do God’s will. At present, I am still trying to get my mind around why this gift was given to me, considering its many possibilities and potential.
Do you know what the gift is? ….. It is TODAY.