During the holiday season, things can appear to be more stressful and we can be tempted to lose our sense of thankfulness and joy. I want to encourage you to be thankful but not in the way you think. Reading 1 Thess 5:18 can be a heavy burden, knowing that the will of God IN Christ for us to be thankful in and through all our circumstances good or bad. We do have a choice when is comes to the circumstances that pass through our lives. We can gladly enter into our circumstances with thanksgiving or we can allow them to embitter us. One thing our circumstances can do is show us that we are incapable, in ourselves, to muster up one drop of thankfulness when things are bad. My human thankfulness can only take me so far then I find myself running out.
So when speaking of thankfulness, I am not speaking of any human effort to be thankful I am talking about divine thankfulness. A thankfulness that comes from another realm, from Christ himself. This thankfulness will never run dry and there will always be a fresh supply of thankfulness when we turn to Him. Did you see in the verse where thankfulness is coming from?-IN CHRIST. It is only in CHRIST that you will experience and have access to the person of thankfulness for all your circumstances. He is the life for our thanksgiving.
CHRIST OUR ONLY CIRCUMSTANCE
Currently, we are walking through a circumstance where we might have to pay a lot of money to fix our truck or sell it and we still owe money on it. I say this to make a point, what I have learned and continue to learn is this, CHRIST is our only true circumstance. The truck is not the circumstance, CHRIST is my circumstance, for it is IN Christ that this circumstance is allowed to happen. It is through the circumstance of our truck breaking down that I am escorted to Christ again, for a fresh supply of his life. This is also called absolute surrender. To be surrendered to CHRIST is to be surrendered to all that he allows to come my way, in order, that he may gain and increase. He is the one who is to head of all things and in reality the ALL in ALL. I am thankful because through the truck, Christ has the opportunity to gain and increase within me. That’s what causes me to Praise Him. Please know that I do not go seeking out circumstances good or bad, but when they come my way, I see them for what they are-CHRIST.
A QUALIFIED AND SUFFICANT LIFE
I also want to encourage you to read Matthew 11. You will see the circumstances the Father has allowed Jesus to endure and his response to his situation. If you notice, Jesus is going to lose his right-hand man in ministry, John the Baptiste. He has been rejected by his own by every town he’s passed through. He has been called the devil, a drunkard, and glutton. He bears the shame of the reputation of eating with tax collectors. By worldly standards, his ministry looks like a failure. This is very hard on the soul life. Then we see Jesus responds to his Father in verse 25,
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
Just to note, Jesus is not drawing from himself, his own divinity, for his thankfulness to the Father. He was drawing upon and from the source of Thankfulness Himself- HIS FATHER. He lives by the life of His Father. Jesus in his humanity has been given, like the rest of us, the right to choose. The antonym of praise, is to blame, criticize and bitterness. Jesus chose to Praise his Father versus blaming or criticizing him because of his circumstances.
Jesus acknowledges that His Father is in control of all that is allowed to happen Him by calling Him the Lord of heaven and earth. He is thankful for the Father’s way of realizing His purpose through these circumstances. He can see that hiding these things from those who think they wise and intelligent and giving them to infants, is the way His Father is gaining and increasing. I call your attention to Matthew 11 to show you that Jesus’ Life is qualified to be, in this case, our thankfulness and praise. The life He offers to us has been tried, tested and pushed to the limits, and it has proven to be qualified and sufficient for us. This is why Jesus follows up with verse 28,
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus knew the weight of the soul life, he came to His father, because he was weary and heavy-laden with being rejected and losing John the Baptise. And when he did so, he found a fresh supply of His Father’s life and he could rest. Now He is telling us, COME TO ME and I will give you rest. The rest I give is my very own life.
The way of the Father for believers is to give us the sufficient and qualified life of His Son. And by us receiving this life, we are participating in and cooperating with, bringing about the Father’s purpose and that is to head up ALL things in CHRIST. Christ is the center and purpose of everything the Father has, is and will accomplish. That alone is something to be THANKFUL for.
May you this season you come to know and experience the person of THANKSGIVING.