To have a heart of thanks is to have a heart of praise. It is easy to thank God for times of health and prosperity but it is not so easy to thank God for our times of trials, storms, and adversity. However, we are called to give thanks in All circumstances.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
God designs, plans, orchestrate, permits, and even sends difficult challenges our way. After all, we have to build up our spiritual muscles some how. A challenge from God often comes in the form of a test of faith.
Needless to say the Devil, who is always lurking about, will stick his nose in any situation hoping to implant discouragement. So, put in your earplugs and put on your spiritual armor. The Helmet of Salvation will keep your mind clear of confusion. By cinching up your belt of truth, you will expose all of his miserable lies.
Fruit produced from such tests of faith are well worth the temporary discomfort you may endure. Perseverance is needed to finish the race set before you, and spiritual tests will train you to endure. Nobody likes to eat unripe fruit and with every struggle you face, with God by your side, the fruit of the Spirit becomes riper and sweeter to the taste.
While bravely setting out on the journey He planned for you, the goodness and kindness of Christ will grown within your heart. You will notice gentleness and compassion have extended their boundaries, empowering your love for Christ and others to mature through sanctification. The Holy Spirit working within you is the only explanation for your budding capacity to love. Oh, what joy there is when we realize spiritual growth!
It takes patience and self-control to trudge through difficult times, but the peace of Christ will always greet us if we lift up our needs in prayer. A peace that transcends all understanding is available for every child of God. It is never withheld or out of reach. This peace comes when we surrender our challenges and submit to God’s plan, trusting Him to equip us for every obstacle.
I encourage you to train your eyes to see the goodness of God, trusting that everything you face has God’s stamp of approval. Just as Satan had to get permission in the throne room to test Job, the Devil must also get permission to buffet you. God did not look to destroy Job and He does not intend to test you beyond your ability to weather a storm.
Have faith in God’s intentions and purpose. Decide now to praise Him in the midst of your pain. This sacrifice of praise and thanks will give your heavenly Father much joy and cause the enemy much discomfort. It will also serve as a quiet witness to those all around you. Be brave and courageous. Be of a stout heart. Praise the name of Jesus in ALL circumstances because He is worthy of ALL our praise.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1 (NIV)
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)
“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” ~C.S. Lewis