In Everything Give Thanks
One of the distinguishing characteristics of a true believer in Jesus Christ is a heart of gratitude. It is not just an attitude of gratitude for all the blessings, but it goes beyond the thankfulness for good things in life. A genuine Christian thanks God even in the midst of trials, persecutions, sorrows and sufferings in life. A Spirit-filled life is a thanksgiving life. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5: 18-20 ESV).
You may find it difficult to give thanks to God in sickness, pain, when you have lost a loved one, in calamities and disasters in life. However, it is when you give thanks to God in all circumstances of life, including times of suffering, you enter into God’s sovereign will for your life. You may not understand the reason for your suffering, but through your sacrifice of thanksgiving, you acknowledge that God is in control of your life, and you trust Him even when things are beyond your understandings. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5: 18 KJB).
Failing to thank God in everything will make a person bitter towards life, which will be displayed by a sour attitude of grumbling and complaining about everything. Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer (1 Corinthians 10: 10 ESV). Grumbling leads to destruction. It does not improve your situation but only leads you further away from the will of God, whereas thanking God brings grace and peace in your life even the midst of sorrow.
Ingratitude towards God is a dangerous sin. It fails to acknowledge the goodness and sovereignty of God. Ingratitude is not just an attitude, but its antagonism towards God. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Roman 1:21 NIV).
Ingratitude towards God leads to and breeds a host of vile sins. People that are ingratitude towards God are termed as evil, their ungratefulness leads them to sins that St Paul mentions later in chapter one to the Romans. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy (Romans 1:29 – 31 NIV).
What would you choose to be, a thankful person or a grumbling person? Life has its own hardships and sorrows for everyone. Some people become what life throws at them, others become what they offer up in life. Let your life be a sweet smelling offering to God. Let your pain, sorrow, grief, hardship burn in front of the altar of God, like incense with a continuous sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, giving glory to God in all things. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy (Psalms 107: 22 NIV).
Irrespective of your situation, irrespective of who you are, there are things you can never take it for granted, but be thankful for God’s great love and mercy. The fact is that He created you in His own image and likeness. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27 NIV). He loves you and has loved you even before He created you, or even before you realised who you are. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).
God gave His only Son, so that you may have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV). Giving thanks to God, is appreciating His goodness over our lives and trusting His goodness even in the midst of hardship and sorrow, knowing that our God is with us in all circumstances and that’s enough to give Him praise in everything.