The giving of thanks should be a regular practice in the life of every believer. It is the essence of God’s will for our lives: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). It is to be a part of every prayer: “. . . In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
As we give thanks . . .
1. We Acknowledge God as the Ultimate Giver
Whatever we are thankful for is actually a gift from God. As Scripture states: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Therefore, when we express thankfulness to others for something, we should remember that it is God Who is the ultimate Giver.
2. We Confirm That Good Will Come
God promises that “all things work together for good.” However, there is a qualifier for this. They work together for good “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Therefore, when something happens that looks bad, we should confirm our commitment to the Lord and His purpose for our life. Sometimes we will go through a trial that will not be for our immediate benefit but it will benefit the lives of other believers. This, in turn, will benefit us because we are all members of the Body of Christ. When one member is honored, all are honored. (See I Corinthians 12:26.)
3. We Affirm God Is in Control of All Things
Nothing takes God by surprise and nothing happens without His prior consent. Not even one sparrow can fall to the ground without His prior approval. (See Matthew 10:29.) Therefore, when we thank God for something, we can be sure that He is in charge. He will not even allow us to be tempted above our ability to endure but will make a way of escape so that we will be able to overcome it. (See I Corinthians 10:13.)
How to Distinguish Trials From Temptations
Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13), but James tells us to welcome our temptations as friends and “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2). The Greek word for temptation in both texts is the same. So, what is the difference? Part of the difference is in who initiates the action. A test is designed by God to draw us closer to Him. A temptation is designed by Satan to draw us away from God and to destroy us. Yet, in the case of Job, the temptation that Satan designed actually turned out to draw Job closer to God because Job responded to it with a grateful heart: “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). This is further reason why we should thank God in all things.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon