"In" Everything Give Thanks
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." —1st Thessalonians 5:18
by David J. Stewart
Only one of the ten lepers returned to thank Jesus. It would seem hard to imagine. Yet, the other nine were all healed in spite of their ingratitude. Oh how much we have to thank God for today! Yet, life has it's troubles. The Apostle Paul had been given a thorn in the flesh to humble him, what he called a "messenger of Satan." There was no healing. There will be times in our lives when things only go from worse to worst. Our faith will be tested. The Bible calls these times "precious" ... "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
Carefully notice in 1st Thessalonians 5:18 above that the Word of God doesn't tell us to be thankful "FOR" everything; but rather, "IN" everything. It is important to our spiritual walk with the Lord that we learn to be thankful to God at all times, and to trust Him, regardless of the circumstances. This is why Daniel could pray while in Babylonian captivity. This is why king David, after losing his family, kingdom, and dignity, could proclaim in Psalm 100:4 ... "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
The Apostle Paul and Silas had learned this and; thus, after being beaten and cast into prison could still sing praises unto the Lord ... And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison ... And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God." The Bible commands us to be thankful "IN" everything; but not necessarily FOR everything. There are some things in my life for which I am not thankful, and I'm not supposed to be. I'm not thankful when my car breaks down; but I am thankful that I have a car to break down. I am not thankful for the herniated disks in my neck; but I am thankful that I got them while driving a church bus for the Lord. Do you see the difference? I am to be thankful "IN" everything. Paul and Silas weren't thankful that they were tortured and imprisoned; but they were thankful that they had suffered for their labors in the Lord.
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Carefully notice that the Bible doesn't say everything good will happen. It doesn't say that everything that happens will be good. Rather, the Word of God promises that everything will "work together for good" (i.e., the big picture) for the true believer in Christ. As an example: No one likes to eat raw ingredients by themselves. No one wants to eat baking soda, flour, oil, sugar, or salt by itself. But you mix all those unpleasant ingredients together and put them through the fire and you'll have a delicious cake to eat.
Likewise, as Christians we will experience times of sorrow and pain throughout our life; but God, through the fire that tests our faith, will make everything good in the end. Ultimately, there will be no miserable Christians in God's Kingdom. Yes, there will be judgment and tears for many believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ; but it will only be for a time. Revelation 21:4 promises, at the end of the Millennial Period, that all tears shall be wiped away and the former things shall be forgotten. What a Wonderful Savior!
God is still on His throne folks, let us rejoice! We may lose a fight here and there; but the battle is the Lord's. 1st Samuel 17:47, "And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands." There are no losers in Christ ... "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).
"In" everything give thanks. Lest we should be ingrates for all that God the Father has done for us in Christ Jesus, let us diligently consider the words of Jesus in Luke 17:15-17 ...
"And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?"
What the Bible Says is So
(by Pastor Roy Thompson)