Monday, May 23, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:18

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"

Do you find it difficult to give thanks to God when you are enduring hardship and suffering?  We all struggle with this despite knowing that God is in control of our lives and is aware of our circumstances.  How many times have you looked back on difficult times that you are thankful for now that you are able to see what God was doing in your life but while you were in the midst of them you were anything but thankful? God's command to us to be thankful in all things is a message to us from our Sovereign Creator that we are not to question His love for us. Nor are we to question His omniscience or His omnipotence in that He knows our struggles and is able to resolve our circumstances at any time.  God created us to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, our High Priest.  God desires fellowship with us, a fellowship in which He brings everything to the table and all that He requires of us is faith.  Therefore, we must orient ourselves to the Biblical truth that the purpose for our lives is to draw nearer to God each day through faith in what He has said in His Word.  Our faith is strengthened when we endure hardship: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (James 1:2-3).  When our thoughts are grounded in this reality it becomes easier for us to give thanks when we are immersed in struggle.

You may have asked God "why me" at some point in your life.  You just could not figure out why God was allowing such adversity to come upon you.  This was on Job's mind when God provided him with an answer: "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, "Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? "Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, (Job 38:1-4)".  God continued to grill Job along these lines and then Job responded: "Then Job answered the Lord and said, "Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth." (Job 40:3-4)  Job's perspective changed immediately for he had been more oriented to his earthly circumstances than he was to eternal reality.  Without an eternal perspective we will be overwhelmed by the thinking of this world which is limited to what the eye can see and the ear can hear. The writer of Hebrews tells us: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (11:3).

Colossians 3:16 commands us to "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you..."  Saturate yourself with the Word of God. Start and end your day by exposing yourself to Scripture.  Pray on your way to work or school and don't stop praying just because you say "Amen".  Pray continuously as Paul commands us in 1 Thess. 5:17.  Pray about everything, this will keep you oriented to the reality of your relationship with God and help you to be thankful no matter what happens because the reality of your fellowship with the Sovereign Creator overwhelms the earthly reality of your temporal circumstances.  This will enable you to draw nearer to God throughout your day.

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