Summary: "In everything give thanks". Sound impossible? Paul shares with us the secrets of being joyful in any situation we face in life.
“How To Be Joyful In Any Situation”
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will (for you) in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (CSB)
Thoughts on Gratitude:
1. Gratitude is the attitude that keeps my life flying at a steady altitude regardless of the storm I’m in.
2. Being thankful is unnatural.
• It’s our nature to be ungrateful.
• It’s our culture to be ungrateful.
3. The power of thanking is that it keeps my heart giving.
• Giving is like your heart pumping. When you stop giving your “spiritual heart” stops pumping. You stop breathing. You die.
Because the moment you stop giving you start dying. When someone hurts us we shut down and stop loving. The moment you stop loving you start dying, because you’re not giving anymore. Loving is giving. Your “spiritual heart” isn’t pumping. Nothing’s getting to it.
4. Gratitude helps me learn to dance in the rain instead of run from the storm.
• In tough times we naturally shut down. When you’re in a storm you retreat inside, close the door and shut the windows. You do everything you can to close yourself off to the outside. But gratitude helps me learn to dance in the rain rather than run inside from the storm. Instead of close myself off I can learn to open myself up to new possibilities.
• Question: Is there a connection between childlikeness and gratitude? I’m thinking of Wesley and “puddles are for jumping” dad. If I am in a puddle I complain. If Wesley steps in a puddle he would dance.
3 Different Types of situations we face:
1. Toxic Situations: Conflict
2. Tragic Situations: Death, Great loss, suffering
3. Chronic Situations: Situation goes on and on, feels like it will never end
“3 THINGS I CAN BE THANKFUL FOR IN ANY SITUATION”
1. Rejoice that I am “in Christ”. – “…in Christ Jesus.”
• Thank God for the salvation I’m in not the situation I’m in.
• What does it mean to be “in Christ”? Paul uses this phrase throughout his writings in the New Testament.
• My Salvation is permanent. My situation is temporary.
• Even when you’re “in trouble” you’re “in Christ”. – Romans 8
• Even when you’re “In over your head” you’re “in Christ”. – Romans 8
• Even when you’re “in pain” you’re “in Christ”. – Romans 8
• Even when you’re “in despair” you’re “in Christ”. – Romans 8
2. Rejoice that I am “in God’s will”. – “…for this is God’s will for you…”
• The situation may not be God’s will but my reaction can be God’s will.
• Painful situations are inevitable, but a negative disposition is optional.
• God cares not only about WHAT you’re going through but HOW you’re going through it.
• Is the negative situation souring my disposition?
3. Rejoice that I am “in God’s thoughts and prayers”. – “…God’s will for you…”
• I am never off God’s mind. He is continually thinking about me and praying for me and working for, in and through me.
• Is there ever a moment when God is not thinking about me? If there is never a moment God is not thinking about me, then He is thinking about me all the time, in everything. If God is thinking about me in everything, then I don’t have to worry about anything.
• If God is thinking about me, how He will take care of me, how he will help me, how he will provide for me, how He will strengthen me, then that means I don’t need to.
• If God is thinking about me so much I don’t need to think about myself as much. I can leave that to God and trust Him instead of worry about myself in this situation.
• This is an issue of trust, of faith in God.