Wednesday, August 3, 2016
And I Will Praise Him
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you."
This verse has, so often, been used to remind us to give thanks in trials. Because "everything" does include trials as well. We are to give thanks in all things. We have a children's cd that teaches bible verses to a tune, with a short explanation of the verse before each song (Steve Green's "Hide Them in Your Heart"), And at one point it says 'Don't give until it hurts- give 'til it tickles!" We could change this to, don't give thanks until you get to a tough time when it doesn't come naturally. Give thanks through the trial until you are truly joyful despite your circumstances!
A joyful heart will be at rest. Bitterness, discouragement, fear, will all bring turmoil to the soul. But when we praise the Lord, He starts to fill our hearts and crowd those things out, leaving his perfect peace in its stead. There might not be anything about the situation that we can find to be thankful for. But we can be thankful that God will carry us through it! Or for the blessings he will reveal later that were included in it! Or we can be thankful for the lessons he will teach us through it. This is something I had to thank him for a couple weeks ago, because the conviction he brought me to through the way I was acting was the only thing that redeemed the situation! I'm so glad nothing we can do can make us lose our salvation when God has claimed us as his own!
There is one thing, though, that I think we often forget when we are thinking of this verse, just because of how it has been "programmed" in our minds to think of it as touching trials. And that is that it doesn't just mean "in the hard things", it literally means in everything, even the small, often un-noticed details, things that appear insignificant! Picture frames and paper. Heaters and fans. Coffee. Blankets. Socks. A letter in the mail. A hug, and a friend's prayers for you. Even an act of kindness from another person, while we should thank them for it, ultimately comes from the Lord!
So we thank God for everything. The big, the small, the eternal. Salvation. His unchanging word. Our hope. The refinement going on in our lives. That he is ready to bear our every need and except our humble offerings.Whatever we can find to thank him for in whatever we are going through, he deserves that praise! And we'll never run out, for the Lord has been so good to us!
How badly do I want to be grateful? How much obedience do I want to show my Savior? I know it's important. I realize it's critical in my walk with the Lord. But it can just be head knowledge that I agree with, or I can give myself over to it becoming my lifestyle.
It's a choice we have to make. It's like cleaning our room. While it might be hard, or we just might not feel like it, we'll be miserable if we don't make that choice to get things tidied up. (Incidentally, it will be more pleasant to clean said room if we make the choice not to grumble over it ;).) We can choose to be grateful! Each choice will make it more and more a habit -which we can thank God for. But it does have to be conscientious decision made to lean on the Lord's guidance and strength rather than our own. We must replace complaints with thanks. Discouragement with prayers. Be generous with our thanks, to both God and others. Study what the bible tells us about gratitude to keep it close to our hearts. Thank the Lord for the blessing of opening our eyes to this command and giving us the strength to obey Him for his glory. And we will praise him.