Thankfulness springs from the heart of one who’s been captivated by the grace of God. Paul teaches in 1st Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
When a person prays without giving thanks, they have clipped the wings of prayer so that it cannot rise. Hence, the trio of admonitions in 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 concludes with “give thanks in all circumstances.” This phrase includes affliction, for even in the midst of trials and tribulations, believers are not merely conquerors but “more than conquerors” inasmuch as all these things actually help them to reach their predestined goal (Romans 8:35-37).
“For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The will of God, as clearly set forth by means of the redemptive work and revelation of Jesus Christ is the reality that believers should always be joyful, should ceaselessly pray, and should in all circumstances give thanks.
Paul, in Colossians 3:16-17 teaches, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
The point here is these songs must be sung in a thankful spirit poured forth sincerely from within the humbly grateful hearts of believers. Whether songs are sung in regular worship service on the Lord’s Day, at a midweek meeting, in social gatherings, in connection with family-worship, at a festive occasion, or privately, they are a tonic for the soul and promote the glory of God. They accomplish this because they fix our sights on the indwelling work of Christ and carry the attention away from the distractions which many with low moral standards are being emotionally overstimulated. Paul is noting the need for believers to grow in the grace of God in order to rightly manifest the power of the indwelling Word. His admonition can be applied to every type of Christian gathering whether on the Sabbath or during the week, whether in church or at home or anywhere else.
Paul’s point here about giving thanks is further explained by the fact that is it on the basis of the Son’s atonement that sinners are accepted by the Father, and together with Him receive every blessing. Hence, it is altogether just and fair that through Him thanksgiving be made to the Father.
Thankfulness springs from the heart of the Redeemed of God and therefore thankfulness should encompass every area of our lives. All we do should be a worship offering to God. Thankfulness helps us lift up our hearts to God when everything in life seems to be crashing all around us. The faithfulness of God is our anchor and our banner and provides the foundation upon which Christians thank God for His saving and sustaining work.
Whenever I find myself feeling discouraged or depressed, I focus on what the Lord has done and is doing in my life. As I maintain my focus on God, I find not only does my attitude change but also the focus of my attention shifts to Jesus. I don’t know about you but my attention can quickly be on my circumstances rather than primarily on Jesus. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. It is He who promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Since God is faithful and His promises are sure, He calls us to lift up our hearts in thankfulness to Him. This often results in the need to preach the message of the Gospel to ourselves. Thankfulness is the heart attitude of the Redeemed who testify to the wonder of His grace. As you continue in the grace of God, also continue to lift up your hearts with thanksgiving to our great God and King—the Lord Jesus Christ who saves us through His grace and sustains us by that same grace.