Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
Paul’s third admonition is to “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” By nature, we easily give thanks when things are working well, we receive answers to our prayers according to our liking, and when life is good in general. When we claim we are growing in our relationship with God but we are not growing in our expression of praise to Him, that is not spiritual maturity. “Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7-8). When we are growing in the grace of God, we will learn how to give thanks even in times of difficulties. The heart and head should go together, if not our praise to God will be hypocritical. God’s will is for believers to grow in thanksgiving whether in times of plenty or in lack. We cannot just be grateful to God when things are rosy but also when things are weighing us down. Being thankful in all circumstances comes from a life yielded to God’s grace. For a follower of Christ, there is no situation in which we cannot be thankful for God’s grace is always sufficient. Paul himself had come to this realization even when he was asking God to remove the things that are causing difficulties in his life. “‘Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). No matter what happens to the life of a believer, all things work together for good. A life devoted to the lordship of Jesus Christ will lead to a joyful, prayerful, thankful heart.