1 Thessalonians 5:16-18—16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We are told to give thanks in all circumstances. That sounds a little optimistic when you think of all of the evil in the world and all of our sin in our own hearts. Our gratitude to God, however, is not tied to circumstances on one hand and owing completely to His benevolence through our circumstances on the other. Here’s what I mean:
God is our creator and He created us for His glory. He created us to glorify Him and He created us to reflect His glory as image bearers in all creation. People should see our lives and bring praise and glory to God through the way our lives point to Christ. He deserves our gratitude, no matter the situation, by being our Maker and Designer. If He did nothing else for us, we owe all thanks to Him for that.
But He has done more, so much more. God has graciously given us all things. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father—James 4:17. We made ourselves His enemies and He planned our reconciliation and sent His Son to die to secure it. What we deserve is death, hell, and wrath. What we receive is grace and mercy. There is nothing on this earth and in eternity that we deserve to include the air we breathe and the relationships we get to experience here on earth. We don’t deserve food and nourishment, health and entertainment, work and happiness. But our God graciously gives out of His abundance. We owe Him our constant thanks in all circumstances.
This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you—give thanks in all circumstances. Do so because the sovereign God over those circumstances deserves it. Also do so just because He is God and to Him alone belongs the glory and the gratitude. Something to think about…
Would I consider my heart full of gratitude for God or entitlement to what I think I deserve?