Thanksgiving is not my first response to irritation. But since God’s commandments are not burdensome, when He says to always give thanks, He must want to lighten my load, not weigh me down.
In context this wisdom reads:
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20, (NIV).
Like all God’s commands, He supplies the power to obey. The Holy Spirit enables me to offer thanks when I don’t feel thankful.
God says to give thanks, not to feel thankful. I can choose to do that. I’ve found that when I do, my feelings often follow, if not immediately, in time.
Adding thankfulness changes how I view routine tasks. When I think, I have to prepare dinner, it feels like an unpleasant chore. When I think, I get to prepare dinner, I am reminded of the blessings of health to enjoy food and the bounty of the foods available to me. Thanksgiving reminds me how rich I am. It changes my perspective.
My physical therapist wanted to teach his young daughter to curb her whining. God took the opening to provide him with many occasions to model this lesson. “Making the most of the opportunity” he checked his natural responses to the repeated and expensive irritations that invaded his life. He knew his daughter would learn much more from his example than from his words.
God also provided role models for him. When his church commissioned two medical doctors who were leaving to live in a remote part of the world, he realized his temporary air conditioning problem was small in comparison to what this couple was voluntarily embracing.
It turns out that hard times are not an excuse for grumbling. God is fully aware “the days are evil.” It sounds like that is all the more reason to be filled with the Spirit and offer thanks. Thanksgiving is connected with living wisely; it pleases God, and it lightens our load. May God remind me of this throughout the day.
What is irritating you today? What dread is hanging over your head? Pause, and thank God that He is with you in this and will accomplish His good purpose through it. Let me know how giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ helps you.
Sue McGee says
I just finished Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book on Gratitude, and it is life-changing! I love the way you write.
Thanks for letting us know about the book and for keeping in touch.
Thank you for all you do for all of us! For me, business has been very slow this summer, and at first I was very sad and fell burdened and helpless, but I kept hearing that small soft voice inside me telling me to give thanks and really mean it. So, then I staring thanking God for the ups and downs. I realized that if things were always wonderful, we might forget to be thankful, but when the downs come, it reminds us who is really in charge, and I began thanking God for all of it, the good and the not so good. As I continued to thank Him, my attitude started changing into a thankful one. Like you said, when you continue thanking Good, then our attitude changes. And, I also realized that with a thankful attitude, I remember much more often to thank Him. Business is picking up since my attitude changed, and I thank God for all it it! I give Him all the praise!
Love in Christ,
Thank you for sharing. It is amazing, even when giving thanks is an act of surrender, it changes something in me. If only I would remember to keep practicing it. I am glad business is picking up.
I love your writings. God has hand picked you to be my favorite blogger. You are so very precious and gifted. What a joy it is to know you. I am THANKFUL for you!
Bless you, Diane. You are a true encourager.