“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)
In the U.S., we celebrate a day of thanksgiving once a year. But God wants us to be intentional about our thankfulness every day. He wants us to develop this spiritual habit, one that is reflected in the life of a radical believer. The truth is, the more deeply you understand God’s love, the more grateful you’re going to be.
So what does it mean to be radically grateful?
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV). That’s radical gratitude. In everything give thanks, because it’s God’s will for you.
You can thank God in every circumstance because God is in control. He can bring good out of evil. He can turn around the stupid mistakes you’ve made. No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving you. There are a hundred things to be thankful for in any circumstance, even when the circumstance stinks.
Radical gratitude — being thankful in all circumstances — is God’s will because it creates fellowship.
What do I mean by that? Gratitude always builds deeper relationships between you and other people and between you and God.
Whoever you want to get closer to, start expressing gratitude to that person. If you’ve moved away from your husband or your wife, you need to start doing what you did when you were dating: Express gratitude. Write little notes of kindness and encouragement. Make calls or text during the day, just to tell him or her that you’re thankful. Do the things you did at first. The reason you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling is because you stopped doing the things that created that lovin’ feeling early on, and you take each other for granted.
Do you want to build your small group? Don’t just go to small group. During the week, text them, email them, call them, write them. Say, “I’m grateful for you, and here’s why.” You’ll find that the more grateful you are for your group, the more your group will bond.
The Bible tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). As you build others up, you’ll find that God builds into your life as well through your deep relationships with him and others.
Talk It Over
- Who do you need to encourage or connect with this week? To whom do you need to show your gratitude?
- What are some simple ways you can express your gratitude to your spouse, friend, or small group members?
As you develop an attitude of gratitude, what changes do you think you will see in yourself and your relationships?
Source: Rick Warren