1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
People want to know God’s will for their lives, and when people ask about God’s will, they’re typically thinking about what they should do next in a particular area of their lives. Who should I marry? Where should I go to school? Which job should I accept? But these are all “number twos” when it comes to God’s will. His will is, first and foremost, that we learn to give thanks.
Why is it always God’s will no matter what happens in my life that I am to give thanks, not for my circumstances but in my circumstances?
1. Gratitude honors God.
Gratitude honors God. Anytime you thank anyone, you honor them. You need to learn to thank God not just for what he does but who he is.
“God, I thank you that you’re smarter than me … I thank you that your wisdom is greater … I thank you that you know what will make me happy more than I do … I thank you that you’re consistent when I?m inconsistent … I thank you for your love … I thank you for your mercy …” That’s thanking God for who he is, and it honors him to have this kind of attitude of thanks.
Doctors know that gratitude is the healthiest human emotion. The more grateful you are in life, the healthier you’ll be, physically. Every day, sit on the side of your bed and think of 10 things to thank God for before you get out of bed. It’ll change your attitude. It’ll change your day. The first five minutes of your day sets your mood for the rest of your day. If you start it with gratitude, you’ll be healthier, you’ll be happier; you’ll be closer to God.
God, let me just think of who you are, what you’ve done, how much you’ve done for me. I make a list and think of 10 things. Then I think of 10 more things. Give thanks. It honors God.
2. Gratitude creates fellowship.
Gratitude always builds deeper relationships between you and other people.
Do you want to rebuild your relationship with a friend, with a parent, with a spouse, with people in your small group? Whoever you want to get closer to, start spending more time expressing gratitude to them. Do you want to build your small group? Don’t just go to small group. During the week text them, email them, call them, write them.
I want to encourage you to be more intentional expressing gratitude to the people in your small group. This week, write some notes, send some text messages, emails. Just tell people how grateful you are. It brings you closer together.