What the Bible says about thankfulness has nothing to do with attitude
Gratitude is a moral standard of the highest excellence. It is a sentiment of kindness, love, and goodwill towards someone who has helped us.
For the believer, it was Jesus Christ who has helped us escape an eternity of judgment through the blood He spilled on Calvary and His resurrection to secure our salvation.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we read:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
It is too easy to state the obvious principle of this verse and completely overlook the command it conveys.
This verse, notably, doesn’t mandate us to feel anything. Many who read too quickly through this verse believe they are simply being challenged to try to keep a thankful attitude and go about their merry way. The problem with attitude is that it is rooted in emotion & feeling and when these change, so does the degree of our gratitude.
First Thessalonians 5:18 directs us to give thanks under all situations regardless of our attitudes. Haven’t you noticed that when you are murmuring, hurt, angry, anxious, disrespectful your emotions & feelings are nowhere near the moral standard of gratitude? For the Christian, gratitude is not to be contingent on circumstances or attitudes. Our standard for gratitude rests on the fact that we are assured that God, His power, His glory is there…in whatever circumstance or situation we may be in.
Yes, it is inherently difficult, even painful, to witness God’s glory in a loss, sickness, tragedy, broken dreams, and unfulfilled desires but it does not mean His glory isn’t there. Despite our inability to see God’s panoramic view of our life, we rest on this truth as believers: He is there, He is good, He is perfect, and His will is perfect.
Lastly, we are not commanded to wait until God has changed our circumstances, fixed our problems, or even made to feel emotionally better to begin expressing our gratitude to Him. His mere presence in all things should be enough to change the outlook regarding our problems. It is why we as Christians always have hope unlike the pessimist who’s perspective dwells on what God has elected not to do (or provide) rather than what He has done.
In this season of Thanksgiving, take heart in the commandment of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and fully extend your gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians doesn’t mandate us to feel anything. The problem with attitudes is that they are rooted in emotions & feelings and when they change, our degree of gratitude shifts as well.
This Thanksgiving, let’s put into perspective our devotion to the the Lord with a thankful attitude for all that He gives.