GIVE THANKS IN EVERYTHING?
by Michael Chu
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Do we, should we, and would we, give thanks in everything? It would be a breeze if we have it all and got it altogether, with everything cruising along just fine in our life.
But, what if things are not so happening with our family relationships, career advancement, business profitability, health, grain in the barn (bank account balance), the grapevine (investment), the fig tree (people under our care), the pomegranate (fruit of the Spirit) and olive tree (anointing for the ministry)? To give thanks in the face of such disheartening circumstances is a paradox of the Christian life.
To digress, we are not talking about the miry pits we have gotten ourselves into through foolishness or blatant disobedience to the counsel of God's word and His Spirit. In such cases, we would do well to repent quickly, receive God's forgiveness and jump right back onto His path of righteousness for us. For example, repenting of our neglect of the LORD's temple, and thereafter experiencing God's restoration of our harvest of grain, grapevine, fig, pomegranate and olive (see Haggai 2:18-19).
What we are discussing here is the trial of our faith. Here is what has been said concerning us as believers in 1 Peter 1:5? (Amp.):
"Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God's power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that [c]final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.
[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distresssed by trials and suffer temptations,
So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.
Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.
[At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
God, our Heavenly Father, is ever watching over us and nothing can happen to us without His permission. He will not allow us to be tried beyond what we are able. For example, Job survived the onslaught of Satan, and Daniel and his friends were unscathed even when thrown into a furnace. Certainly, our faith is not a flash in a pan but an enduring beacon of light that is of Christ.
Although Satan wanted to sift Peter, Jesus interceded for Peter's well-being. Paul prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be removed, "But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [a]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [b]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amp.)" So, in everything Christ glorified in us and through us.
As our faith is proven and we pass the testing, our faith becomes as pure as fine gold, eventually, and Christ becomes the LORD upon the driver's seat of our life. No wonder Paul could exhort us to give thanks in everything: "Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (Amp.)."
This takes us back to the initial question: Do we, should we, and would we, give thanks in everything? If our point of reference is the Word of God, then there are compelling reasons for us to give thanks in everything. The next part is would we be willing to take a step of obedience and step out in faith? Jesus overcame His struggle and embraced the will of God to endure Calvary. To me this was His finest hour. But, greater yet was His resurrection! And, His Second Coming!! Awesome!!! Are we willing to make our current testing our finest hour?
Final part of the question of "Do we give thanks in everything?" serves as a constant reminder of the normal Christian life that brings more than a smile to our Heavenly Father's face. We honour Him when we are thankful and allow Him to shape us for His glory. And, knowing God, we can expect His best and only His best for us, if we are willing, so that His destiny for us can be established. Let go, let God and let's go for gold!
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