The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What does giving thanks in everything mean? It means give thanks for the good things and for the things that are less than good, trusting that God is working all bad things together for good (Romans 8:28).
Permit me to focus on the first part of giving thanks: thanking God for the good in our lives.
How often do we give thanks for the good things? Most of us have health, freedom, employment, insurance, homes, cars, TVs, food, clothing, friends, family, entertainment, recreation, ministry, Bibles, and the list goes on. Did I say the list goes on? Yet, do we regularly give thanks to God? Or, do we feel we deserve what we do have and fixate on what we don’t have?
For example, many wives share with me their list of negatives about their husbands. They see what their husbands lack. Because of this tendency to fixate on what they don’t have, I challenge these wives to write down all the positive things they see in their husbands and thank God for what they do have. A wife wrote, “Every day I am writing one thing I am thankful for about my husband, and then most days sharing it with him as an encouragement. I want to set my mind on my husband’s good points and am praying that God will restore (our) desire and love…”
Giving thanks applies to all relationships! Listen to what this young man said about his girlfriend: “I realized that, if instead of focusing on the one area she lacks, I began to think and dwell on all the great and lovely things I find attractive about her, I see myself being very satisfied. I even thought, ‘What if I was married to this woman and coming home to her every day?’ My general sense and feeling was, yes, that is something I can do and would probably look forward to. I need to give thanks for her many positive qualities.” (I received word while writing this that he just proposed to her!)
For sure, when we give thanks for what we do have, acting on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we see life and people more positively and actually find ourselves happier!