Today, I choose to rejoice!
Today, I choose to give thanks!
I know this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus.
Scripture for today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
According to our scripture today, it is God’s will for us to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things, in Christ Jesus. The Bible is full of expressions of gratitude and instructions to be thankful: “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart…” “Give thanks to the Lord…” “We give thanks…” There are over 100 references with just the words “give thanks.” This does not include “be thankful,” “thanks be to God,” “with thankfulness,” “show gratitude,” etc.
Why is there so much emphasis on thankfulness?
When we embrace an attitude of thankfulness, our focus is not on the problem, the lack, the stress, the hurt. Rather, our focus is on goodness, mercy, answers, relief. Renewing our minds to engage in gratitude actually causes positive results in our physical bodies, including our thought processes, stress levels, and physiological changes. Employing an attitude of gratitude causes hope, strength, and joy to increase within us.
According to scientists, grateful people are more hopeful and healthier, sleep better, have increased self-esteem, increased empathy and helpfulness, and increased resilience (Newsweek, Nov. 25, 2015). I believe God knew in His infinite wisdom that we need instruction and encouragement to be thankful in all things, which would in turn help us to have hope, health, and endurance. He, after all, has created us and equipped us in every good thing to do His will.
We can’t rejoice always and give thanks in all things without Him. The instruction in the scripture today has this qualifier: that we rejoice always and give thanks “in Christ Jesus.” It is impossible to rejoice always and to give thanks in all things apart from Christ. It is because of Christ that we are able to rejoice always and to give thanks in all things.
Do you want to be hopeful and healthy, sleep better, increase your self-esteem, empathy, helpfulness and resilience? Employ an attitude of gratitude in all things! Get in the scriptures. Study and learn the character of God through the life of Jesus. Meditate on the promises of God. Renew your mind. He – and all He has done for you – will enable you to “Rejoice Always” and to “give thanks” in all things!
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Psalm 9:1; 1 Chronicles 16:34; Colossians 1:3; Hebrews 13:21; Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 12:2