1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJV)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (CEB)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.” (CEV)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (AMP)
Yes, I know, it appears I’m being rather redundant with the Word of God. Are six versions too much? Not enough? You see, I have a point I want to make about giving thanks and there is a lot of misunderstanding with some Christians concerning these verses and others like it.
First, as Christians, true followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we have more than enough to be thankful for and it shouldn’t be any stretch of the imagination to come up with things to be extremely thankful for.
But here’s the thing; I’ve actually heard it preached AND taught, that we are supposed to give thanks FOR everything. Now notice, I highlighted the word FOR. For those of you who know the Word of God, you realize and recognize the Apostle Paul’s statement, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28.
I like to highlight one of the keywords in that statement as being ALL. “All things work together for good.” When God is in charge of our lives and we have surrendered fully to Him, it doesn’t matter the situation or circumstance, good, bad, indifferent, known or even unknown, He can and He will turn it around for our own good and for His glory! This means in essence, that even though the enemies of our souls mean to destroy us, God won’t let it happen. He turns everything around so that we can fulfill the purpose that He has called us too, because we truly do love Him!!
There is nowhere in this statement however that says we are to be thankful FOR the bad things. It is a strong enough assurance, or at least it should be, that God will turn everything and anything around for His glory.
However, to the Thessalonians, the same Paul wrote to “give thanks in everything.” But this is why it is so important to read and apply the Word of God in the way it was meant, otherwise, there can be confusion and yes, even struggles. How can I sincerely give thanks for something bad that happens?
Well, you don’t; that’s just crazy. This is why you need to clearly understand the Word. The Apostle did say anywhere in the Scriptures to give thanks FOR everything, but rather IN everything or in other words IN every and any situation or circumstance. We can go through a rough or even bad time and yet, there is still room to be thankful to the Lord for the blessings He HAS bestowed upon us and also to realize those blessings don’t just stop suddenly!
For instance, Paul was never thankful to be in prison, but he was most definitely still thankful for the Lord’s presence and blessings while in prison. Can you see the difference? When we can be thankful, no matter the circumstance, we actually give our Heavenly Father by His Holy Spirit the ability to do the work to turn the situation around so that He will be glorified.
Beginning in Acts 16:25 we find Paul and Silas in prison singing hymns and giving glory to the Lord while other prisoners listened to them. If you read on, you will see that the Lord used that instance, rather than let the devil defeat them, turn it around so they could give witness and testimony to the guard! They certainly weren’t happy to be IN prison, but they were still happy to be free IN Christ Jesus, so they were able to rejoice and be thankful. Because of it, God STILL received the glory!
So, brothers and sisters, don’t be confused or deceived. Just realize that no matter how you find yourself, you can still give thanks for the amazing blessings that God continues to shower on us, no matter the condition we are in. In closing remember one other statement the Apostle made concerning this very thing:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11-13.
Being content is another form of gratitude and thanksgiving. Why? Because it is Christ Jesus Who strengthens us, so therefore, we CAN be thankful and rejoice!
So, remember as you are gathered with family and/or friends this Holiday, you can be thankful no matter your circumstances or situation that you find yourself IN. Let God bless you despite anything bad that has or can happen. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks while you are IN whatever situation (it’s bound to pass)!”
So, God bless each and every one of you this Thanksgiving Day. I pray God’s richest blessings come to you and your loved ones, especially as you remember and reminisce about all the good things in God!