Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5.18
Intuitively we know we should give thanks for the blessings and good things of life. This is one of the reasons why as a nation we have a day of Thanksgiving set aside to count our blessings. But the gospel gives us the power to give thanks in all circumstances, in times of ease and in times of difficulty. To do this, we don’t have to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. Nor do we have to lie to ourselves and say a difficulty really isn’t that difficult. Instead, the gospel reminds us of some powerful realities, so we can thank God at all times, even difficult times.
The gospel reminds us that even in difficult times, we are not under God’s wrath, and so the difficulty is being subjected by God and forced to do us good. We have been delivered by God from wrath. And, because we are united with Jesus, all the favor of God that Jesus deserves, we receive. By grace we have pure favor with God. So our difficulties are not because God is wrathful against us. The wrath is absorbed by Jesus on the cross. So, in our difficulties we are thankful, because God is with us and for us, and he will never forsake us.
In the midst of good times, we are thankful because the good times tell us of God’s kindness and grace as well. We didn’t earn the good times. The good times are a gift to us. The gospel reminds us that everything we have from God is a gift. So we thank God continually. We don’t look at our own strength and puff ourselves up with pride, believing that we have earned the good things we experience in life. Instead, we are thankful because God has given us everything we have.
So, today as we live our lives, live in your circumstances from the center of the gospel of God. Live today remembering that all the wrath we deserve was placed on Jesus. Remember that all the glory Jesus deserves is given to us. Remember that in the midst of difficulty God is for you—he’ll never forsake you. Remember in the midst of good times, all the blessings are because of God’s grace. Today, God’s will for you is to be thankful in all of your circumstances. You are dearly, personally, extraordinarily loved by God.