Over the past couple of months we have explored the counsel and blessings that the apostle Paul extended to the various churches with which he was
associated throughout Asia Minor and parts of the Roman Empire. His greetings to each one are consistent in celebrating the believer’s faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the love that they shared with each other.
Perhaps one of the greatest themes of Paul’s letters is the encouragement to his readers to be thankful. Although it was customary in his culture to include a broad set of affirmations witnessed in the people, Paul makes it clear that his expressions of gratitude for their growth in faith and love were a blessing for which he raised his voice in praise to God.
Paul used words like “We always praise God for your faith when we pray” and “I always thank my God for you because of His grace given to you in Christ Jesus” in every one of his letters. The apostle was committed to reminding both ancient and present readers that the blessing of a grateful heart is an important part of worship and is required for spiritual growth.
We often become concerned, even overwhelmed, by our obsessing on situations, issues or other matters somewhere out in the future and we may pray for God’s deliverance and solutions. It is not uncommon for us to focus so much on our concern that we miss the blessing of being aware of, and thankful for, all that God is already providing for our good in the present. When we intentionally express our gratitude for God’s blessings, our focus shifts from ‘worry’ to ‘thanksgiving’ and we are reminded that He is able to care for all that concerns us, and in fact, He already is.
How would living with an attitude of gratitude change our lives, our faith, our peace, our joy?
19“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20
(16) Rejoice always, (17) pray continually, (18) give thanks
in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ
Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18