Gratitude. It's an important rhythm of the Christian life. As believers, we're called to be thankful—always.
This is a tall order sometimes, isn't it? Despite all our trials and seasons of hardship, we're called to give thanks to God. How is this possible? This is exactly what we plan to explore throughout the month of November, as it's our new LiF monthly theme.
To kick things off, we're doing a deep dive into 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and unpacking the importance of rejoicing in the Lord always, whatever season you find yourself in. We'll be looking into why it's important and how we live it out.
So grab your pumpkin spice latte, cozy on up, and dive into Scripture with us.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
First and foremost, in order to understand why gratitude is necessary, we must understand our need for a Savior.
When you begin to grasp the weight of your sin and Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for you, then you begin to see how gratitude is the only natural response to such a gift. Understanding the problem, your own brokenness, as well as the solution, Jesus' death and resurrection, opens your eyes to see a new world with Jesus at the center of everything.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." ~ Isaiah 53:5
We do not deserve such a gift—eternal life, but Jesus stepped in on our behalf and shouldered the weight of our sin.
Through Jesus' death on the cross, our sins have been washed away and we've been fully justified, just as Romans 5:1 says. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
As the Westminster Catechism states, man's chief end is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. Let that sink in for a moment. We were destined for hell, to be separated from God due to our own sin, but God, in His great kindness, made the greatest sacrifice of all and now we can be at His side for eternity.
How can we not be grateful?
How Do We Practice Gratitude?
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34
Now that we've been reminded of the importance of gratitude, now comes the trickiest part—living this out.
In theory, we can look at this topic and wholeheartedly agree that yes, gratitude is a necessary response to have to the Gospel and we should practice this daily. However, in reality, in the face of all the adversities of life, it gets harder and harder to be grateful in any season.
When we experience a truly terrible day, the last thing we want to do is turn around and thank God for it, and yet, it's what we're called to do according to 1 Thessalonians. How is this made possible?
First, we must understand that every experience we're faced with, for better or for worse, is a gift from God.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." ~ James 1:2-4
Even the trials you face have been placed there knowingly by God. Why? For your growth. Of course, growth is hardly ever easy, LiF sister! Oftentimes, in order to truly grow in our faiths and become more like Jesus, it'll be a long, hard, arduous process. In these seasons of hardship, we're called to rejoice in the Lord and thank Him for what He's actively doing in our hearts.
Consider this quote from author and theologian C.S. Lewis, "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, contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country."
- Gratitude is a necessary response to Jesus' incredible sacrifice for us. We don't deserve to be forgiven or even to be with Jesus for eternal life, and yet, God has graciously granted us these things. How can we not be grateful?
- We must be grateful in every season, through every trial. Despite the hardships we're faced with, we must recognize that everything is a gift from God for our growth and betterment.
- We can take heart knowing our God is working all things together for His good!
A Reminder to Be Grateful
Gratitude season is here, LiF sisters! With the holidays right around the corner, now is the time to stock up on our beloved Christian t-shirts! We've been hard at work creating the cutest faith-based reminders for the season. We hope you love them just as much as we do, and you recognize you're a precious daughter of the King!