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.