Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
When I say the phrase "all the time," it is often an exaggeration. For example, if I were to say, "I am hungry all the time," I might be getting my point across that I am hungry a lot, but I am also exaggerating. You see, the truth is, I am not hungry all the time. There are many times that I am not hungry. It is only in the times that I am hungry that it feels like I am always hungry. If I were to say, my 1-year-old niece is happy all the time, you would probably receive the message that my niece is a very happy baby, but you would probably recognize the reality that she is not happy every single second of every day. While the phrase "all the time" is often an exaggeration when I say it, today, we are going to look at a command from Scripture that is not an exaggeration that calls us to be thankful all the time.
"Be thankful in all circumstances," Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Paul did not make a mistake when he said, "all circumstances." This means that, even in quarantine, there is something to be thankful for. Even when you find yourselves in a difficult financial situation, you can still practice gratitude. Even when your relationships are falling apart, God is still working, and you can thank Him for continuing to work when life is hard. Even when you do not get accepted to your dream college or job, there are still opportunities to praise God if you will look for them.
"Be thankful in all circumstances," Paul continues, "for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." Christ wants us to be thankful. Why? Well, first and foremost, because He deserves our gratitude. Secondly, I think His will for us to be thankful is because He knows that gratitude dramatically increases our quality of life.
I do not know about you, but I would choose a grateful lifestyle over a lifestyle of complaining and focusing on all of the negative things we are facing. Complaining leads to bitterness, complacency, and disappointment. Choosing gratitude leads to joy. Let's choose joy, even when it is hard, even when we have to fight for it.
One method for understanding how to study the Bible is looking at sections of Scripture through the lens of relationships, specifically our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. In a notebook or with your journal, ask and answer these questions:
How does this section of Scripture affect my relationship with God?
How does this section of Scripture affect my relationship with myself?
How does this section of Scripture affect my relationship with others?
Let these questions and answers prompt you toward application as you seek to apply Scripture to your life.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss.
I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.