“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
When we stop to reflect upon all that we have in Christ, it is natural and normal to respond with praise and thanks to God. The ones who live in Christ ought to be the most thankful, appreciative, and grateful people in the world – for In Him, and through Him, and because of Him, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).

None of us are equal in terms of finances, material possessions, and physical health. Some have more, some have less. But spiritually speaking, all who are in Christ have been blessed equally. There is no real difference in the measure of spiritual blessing, power, or anointing among believers: all share in the same Lord Jesus, “in Whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).

Scripture tells us that in the last days, perilous times will come as “men will become lovers of their own selves… unthankful” (2 Tim. 3:2). Unthankfulness is a symptom of this modern age. People in more prosperous areas of the world are not particularly thankful for their prosperity. Ironically, they have grown accustomed to thinking that the world (or God) owes them even more – a better job, a free or low-cost education, a nicer home, affordable health care, or an even higher standard of living. This entitlement mentality is unhealthy and leads to chronic discontentment and dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, followers of Jesus recognize that we are entitled to nothing. We also recognize that whatever we do have is the result of God’s blessing: “What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7). It is impossible for a person to be thankful and to be prideful at the same time. Thankfulness to God has the built-in benefit of making a person genuinely meek.

Thankful people are people of prayer. They have needs, and so they make their requests known to God. But even when needs appear to be unmet, and requests seem to go unanswered, they nevertheless give thanks “in all circumstances.” Whether they have much, or whether they have little, they are still able to “rejoice always.” This may sound like something reserved for super-spiritual, special people, but it isn’t. It as an attitude of gratitude that can be learned:

“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phl. 4:11-13).

If Paul can learn it, then we can learn it, because we have the same Christ Who strengthens us. Being content with what we have, and being thankful for what we have already received, is a first step in the right direction.

Chip Brogden

CHIP BROGDEN is an author, teacher, and former pastor who shares “real, simple, truth” about a Christ-centered faith that is based on relationship, not religion. Learn more »


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