God’s Will for You.
Have you ever wondered what “God’s will” is for you? It can be an impossibly huge question to try to answer.
It can also be quite simple. Look at what Paul tells God’s will is for us in 1 Thessalonians 5:
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
That’s God will. At least, that’s what God wants us to do. So as we continue in our Central Thoughts “mini-series” on gratitude, I want to challenge you to “give thanks in all circumstances” during this week.
In good circumstances.
This should be the easy one, but it’s also the one we neglect the easiest. If your circumstances are ‘good’, don’t take it for granted. Instead, take a look around, take stock of your life, take a moment today to notice God’s gifts – and thank God. In prayer, in song, in a list, in a shout, in your own act of worship. Don’t forget to thank God in your good circumstances.
In rough circumstances.
It’s a little harder to give thanks when circumstances are rough: when life seems up against you, or when the bad feeling hits home, or when all the battles are uphill, or when stress overtakes you, or grief overwhelms you, or resentment overshadows you. Circumstances can be like this. It’s tough to give thanks in them, and you can practically forget about rejoicing in them! But this is precisely God’s will for us in every circumstance. So when things are rough, find things to be thankful for – no matter how little. Thank God for the cup of coffee. Thank God for the moment of laughter. Thank God for the 10 second break from the worry. Thank God for the struggle that made you stronger. Thank God for the air in your lungs. Gratitude breeds contentment, peace, and joy. Practice it today.
In neutral circumstances.
Most of our lives are in this zone. Not quite up, and not quite down. Most of the time, we hover somewhere in the middle. It’s in the middle that we especially need to learn to be grateful. Not as a survival technique (as we do when it’s rough), but instead, as our default way of living. How can you be grateful in the ordinary, everyday things of life? In waking up and doing your morning routine, much like you do every morning…how can you express gratitude to God in it? In your work that you do or don’t enjoy…how can you thank God? In the chores you have to do, the commute you’ve chosen to make, the relationships you most commonly live in…in these very ordinary things, how can you give thanks in all of them, everyday?
Unbelievably, this is God’s will for us. And here’s what we find when we learn to “give thanks in all circumstances” (as well as “rejoice always” and “pray continually”): as we do, we find our hearts being turned to God and to our neighbor, we find joy and contentment bubbling up from within, and we find life becoming more of what it was always supposed to be – life with a capital L.
So this month, as we approach Thanksgiving, approach it by giving thanks. Regardless of the circumstances. You may as well start today.