Let’s begin with our Scripture as our foundation for our reflection,
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18. ESV.
If you look at the Scripture above, you come across three statements, and which will help us make sense of why we should always be thankful.
These are like commandments. Paul puts it this way, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
In other words, if there is one thing God wants you to do is to be grateful using the three steps we will discuss next, based on our Scripture.
“To rejoice,” using the original text (Greek), could mean three things:
- Be glad.
- Feel great joy, happiness, and delight.
- Show great joy, happiness, and delight.
Gladness, happiness, joy are feelings and emotions.
Therefore, to rejoice means to experience all the above. In other words, it’s about awareness.
And, this awareness is both emotional and physical. It comes down to what you may have already heard before: self-awareness.
Self-awareness helps you choose how to respond to anything in life!
It helps you master your emotions and feelings, as well as how you should respond to other people’s emotions and feelings.
Rejoicing then is something you can manage from your inner self (soul and mind).
Based on Ephesians4: 31-32, three could be three steps that can help you be glad, feel great joy and show it in your everyday living:
- Get to know your feelings. List whatever is going through your mind and soul. Give each of those feelings and emotions a name.
- Don’t live in denial. What you’re feeling is really happening to you, and you need to know it well.
- Shift your perspective. Remember that you’re walking not by sight, but by faith (2 Corinthians 5: 7).
- Get rid of bitterness.
- Get rid of anger, the idea of revenge and punishment.
- Stop saying false and malicious words about people.
- Choose to be satisfied with what you accomplish.
- Be kind.
- Be tenderhearted.
- Be forgiving.
Do it in an attitude of Prayer
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4: 4. ESV.
Out of the above Scripture, I can say these two things:
- Joy comes out of a sound body, mind, and spirit.
- Joy also comes out of the experience of growing in Jesus Christ.
Three reasons why pray can help us be grateful:
- Prayer is an exchange. Through prayer, God takes everything that stresses and wears us out. God gives us in exchange for something that’s light, and which we carry with us all the days of our lives without wearing out again.
- Prayer is an offering. Through prayer, we offer to God all our guilt, anger, sadness, shame, sins, and all other negative feelings and emotions.
- Prayer is an interaction with the Divine. Through prayer, not only do we get into a conversation with God, but more importantly, God transforms us as we pray. As a result, we become more like God with the power to overcome evil and sin in all their forms.
Give thanks in all circumstances
The power that comes out of our personal transformation through prayer enables us to be thankful.
Prayer allows us to have what I call a Eucharistic experience with God.
The word, eucharisteo, is what translates into “give thanks” based on 1 Thessalonians 5: 18.
It implies two things:
So, to give thanks then could mean:
- To acknowledge God’s goodness.
- To acknowledge God’s grace.
When you shift your perspective by choosing to focus on God rather than your situation, you, therefore, become able to see God’s goodness and experience God’s grace.
No matter what you face, you’ll be grateful because you know that God is so good enough that God always has your back. You are also grateful because of God’s grace in your life, you have all you need to overcome everything life brings your way.