by Milton Hubbard
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
The implication is that in good circumstances and bad, and in events we understand and in those we do not understand we are to give God thanks. He delights in our giving of thanks, which testifies of our trust in His plans for our lives.
Ephesians 5:20 takes this concept to another dimension though. It says that we are to be "Always giving thanks FOR ALL THINGS in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…"
Giving thanks FOR a washer that won't wash, a light that won't light, and a heater that won't heat, doesn't make sense to the natural mind. But maybe it's about obedience rather than understanding
Several things happened to me on Monday that were stressful and unpleasant. I did not like or appreciate any of these things. Given the choice I would have eliminated all of them from their assault on my day. However, in the late afternoon I was reminded of what I taught on last Sunday and it began to change my whole perspective and attitude toward things I could not control and for which I would normally gripe and complain.
I began to thank God for conflict, adversity, difficulty and unpleasantness. I thanked Him for things I detested and experiences I would have avoided if given the chance. I did find myself wondering why I was thanking God for things I resented. And that's when I made a serendipity discovery that just might change my life…and yours.
Giving thanks FOR ALL THINGS is an opportunity to say to God, "I am not thanking you because I like or agree with this circumstance. I am thanking you FOR it because that is what your Word instructs me to do and I am choosing to come into compliance with your Word through my obedience even though I do not understand WHY I am giving you thanks. I am thanking you FOR something I would normally complain about because I trust that your Word is being fulfilled in my life. As I thank you, my attitude is being transformed into the attitude of Christ who faced the cross with JOY, which makes no sense to the natural mind."
Thanking God for offensive circumstances is NOT an attempt to manipulate God into changing the circumstance. It is reflective of our willingness to do what His Word tells us to do even when it goes against the logic of understanding and comprehension.
Most people do not give thanks for the privilege of changing dirty diapers. But one of the most powerful worship songs of this generation was birthed in the circumstance of changing a dirty diaper. Jennie Riddle was changing a diaper but her heart was connecting with the Presence of the Holy Spirit as these words were being birthed in her spirit. "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, Holy, Holy is He. Sing a new song to Him who sits on, Heavens Mercy Seat…Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings, You are my everything and I will adore You…Clothed in rainbows of living color, flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder. Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power, be unto You the ONLY wise King…"
The Revelation Song was written NOT from a physical viewpoint of a dirty diaper but a spiritual viewpoint of the Creator of the Universe…while a dirty diaper was being changed.
When we encounter the unpleasantness of difficulty, adversity, and DIRTY DIAPERS, we will view the circumstance with frustration and contempt if we fail to practice the instruction to GIVE THANKS FOR ALL THINGS, and we may miss a Divine encounter capable of producing something as powerful as The Revelation Song.
I want to challenge you to practice Ephesians 5:20 for the next 30 days even though it WILL defy common sense. Thank God FOR ALL THINGS that touch your life, not because you under-stand or agree with those things, but because you are seeking to be obedient to His Word which will transform your attitudes and allow you to possess the MIND of Christ as you walk in faith.
Milton Hubbard has served as Pastor of Living Word Assembly since 1977
Ryan Wheeler serves as Associate Pastor at Living Word Assembly.