Paul’s final words to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them shows his pastor’s heart. He told them to take care of one another, be patient, not to seek revenge and always try to do good. Then in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 he includes these thoughts: “Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” He concludes this passage with admonitions to them to not try to block the Holy Spirit’s work and always seek to do good.
What would our lives be like if we really tried to do these things? Being patient with those who frustrate us, seeking to take care of those who are weak or in need, not being vengeful, always being filled with joy, thanks and praises to God, being known as a prayer warrior, seeking to do the will of God in all things and always looking for the good. But that is what Paul is saying is God’s will for us. God wants us filled with joy, always looking to Him in prayer and being thankful in all circumstances. Scripture does not say being thankful for all things but in all things. We do not need to be thankful for the hurricane, car accident or someone’s death, but we need to be thankful during those times of stress, deprivation, sorrow or calamity. We need to have an attitude of gratitude towards God at all times. That can be very hard in difficult times but as Paul says “this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” This is the key to having a grateful heart which God desires of us. I love the way David expresses this is Psalm 86:11-13 Teach me your ways, O Lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
13 for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
Is this you in all circumstances? Let David’s words be your prayer today.