Pastor Robert Fowler – Thank God in all things
“In everything when you pray, pray with thanksgiving.” The Good News translation says, “Always asking Him with a thankful heart.”
I’ve shared before that the healthiest human emotion is not love, but gratitude. Studies have shown that it actually increases your immunities. It makes you more resistant to stress, and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy; those who are ungrateful are miserable, because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied. It’s never good enough. If you cultivate the attitude of gratitude — of being thankful in everything — it reduces stress in your life.
Be thankful in all things. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I want you to notice the word “in.” That is one of the most important words to keep you from misinterpreting this verse. It does not say “Give thanks for every circumstance.” That’s often the misinterpretation you’ll hear with TV preachers. They’ll say things like, “You should give thanks for everything.” The Bible doesn’t teach that; it says give thanks in every circumstance. If you have a flat tire you don’t go, “Thank God! I just had a car wreck, praise the Lord.” Be serious. That’s loony.
Give thanks for evil in the world? If my children were murdered, I would not be thankful. If my wife was diagnosed with cancer, I would not be thankful. When there’s a war of one country against another, I’m not thankful for the war. The Bible does not say be thankful for evil. It says, “In every circumstance give thanks.” Not, for every circumstance, but in.
What’s the difference? It is this concept: “Even in bad, God can bring good.” In every circumstance, no matter how bad it is, I can give thanks to God because a) I know He has a purpose bigger than the problem; b) He will give me the power to overcome the problem; and c) I will grow through the experience if I allow it to help me grow. So in every circumstance, even in the evil that happens in the world, I can be thankful because I know that God is greater than the problem.
A lot of people ask me, “How do I know what God’s will is for my life?” It’s right there. “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will.” You want to know God’s will for your life? “In everything give thanks.” In fact, if you’re not experiencing the attitude of gratitude, you’re out of God’s will.
But how can I be grateful when I’ve lost so much? I’ve lost my job or I’ve lost my health or I’ve lost my husband or wife. How can I be thankful in that situation?
You look not at what you’ve lost. You look at what you have left. And you have an awful lot left: you’re still alive. The question is, “What are you taking for granted?” Your health? Your freedom? Your relationships?
“In everything give thanks.” Gratitude is a stress reliever because it takes your eyes off the problem, and puts it on the positive things in your life.