‘Tis the Season! Every mid-late October, the emails and social media graphics start flooding in about the 30 days of Thankfulness and ideas and suggestions about how we can be thankful.
Many of these things can be great tools and resources, and they can be fruitful, but it seems as though every November, we snap into some mode of thankfulness because Thanksgiving is coming, and it has become the theme of the month.
However, I learned a new perspective as I read through God’s Word to understand what He says about thankfulness. One I would like to share with you today.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21
In both scriptures, we learn that living thankful is God’s Will for us.
So we see that being thankful is not just a season or a mode we get into for November. It is much more. It is how God is calling us to live. It is a lifestyle.He doesn’t just want us to DO thankful; He wants us to BE thankful. Click To Tweet
But what about when life is hard? What about when the seasons get rocky, and the storms come upon us, with waves threatening to take us over and destroy us?
What is it in those seasons that make it hard to be thankful?
For me, in those seasons where there is much more negative activity than positive, my eyes easily wander over to the negative and rest there awhile. I struggle to remember what God has given me already and His faithfulness to me over the years.
The enemy wants us to keep our eyes on those things or people we are missing, or the battles we face and take them off all God has given to us, and all God is to us, just like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.The enemy’s tactics are the same now as they were then. Click To Tweet
What are some ways we can turn our eyes back on Jesus during those times?
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
Verse 4 says REJOICE – not rejoicing because things are terrible, not rejoicing about our circumstances or situations, but rejoicing IN the Lord. The rejoicing is IN Him.
I want to take a moment to talk about something. This verse and others like it have become a source of condemnation for believers, and I have seen some believers use it in a very pharisaical way. God’s Word is not telling us we must be happy in our complicated and challenging circumstances. We are not required to go around making it all seem better than it is.We are not terrible Christians because we are struggling and wrestling through the places we find ourselves in or as we watch our loved ones go through hard things. Click To Tweet
We need to guard our minds and hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to lead our words as we walk with others through hard things. We can be someone the enemy uses in their life instead of being God’s instrument there.
The first way we can turn our eyes back to Jesus in these challenging times is to:
- WORSHIP HIM – When we struggle to be thankful in hard times, we need to pause and stop what we are thinking and doing and just worship God. Take a moment to remember who He is to us, remember who we are to Him, and praise Him for the truth that He is with us through whatever we are going through and that we can trust Him to guide us through it all.
Verse 6 says; Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, every situation and every circumstance, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
2. PRAY – bring every anxiety, care, supplication, and concern about the situation, circumstance, or relationship to Him in prayer with thanksgiving. Be honest and authentic. Give Him everything! The good, the bad, and the ugly. He wants it all. Give it with thankfulness knowing that He loves us, He hears us, and He is walking through it all with us. He has not left us alone. Thankful because He knows our needs and the desires of our hearts, and He will give us His best. Peace comes when we bring it all to Him.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
3. STAY CONNECTED TO JESUS – He is the vine; we are the branches. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Apart from Him, we cannot live this life of thankfulness, especially in those challenging moments and seasons. We need Him!
SO, to live thankful is God’s Will for us. In every circumstance and season, His desire is for us to live thankfully.
How do we do this when it is difficult?
- Keep Worshipping God – no matter how you feel – worship Him. Worship Him with His Word, in prayer, in song, or just being still and knowing He is God.
- Bring it all to Him in prayer, every situation, circumstance, person, or relationship. Acknowledge who He is in you, your life, and your circumstances. Lay it all out before Him. All your feelings, struggles, and cares – be honest and transparent before Him. Watch the peace come.
- Stay connected to Jesus – In His Word, In prayer, and staying connected to sisters in Christ, God has put around you in this season of life. Those who spur you on towards Him. Stay in Community.
If there is any way we can be praying for you more specifically and personally, please share with us so we may walk alongside you through whatever you are struggling with or walking through in your life.