November 26, 2020
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That’s the Will of God?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Why would giving thanks be the will of God? When you think about the will of God, do you not think of “bigger” things. It is the will of God for me to move to Nigeria and be a missionary; to leave corporate America and work at the food bank; to engage in achieving world peace. But here, the Apostle Paul wrote the will of God is for each follower of Jesus to give thanks in everything.

I have learned that my Father never does anything superficially. God is deep. And He does deep things. If gratitude is His will, that is because there are deep treasures to be encountered. And, surprise, we discover that genuine gratitude, in fact, effortlessly opens a current of beautiful truths and emotions. When we step into that current, it is easy to see why gratitude is our Father’s will.

We can move from the superficial giving of thanks to deep gratitude by repeatedly asking questions about specific areas of our lives. So, let’s do a simple exercise:

Define gratitude so that we know what our target is.

Pick something in your life for which you are grateful.

Ask a series of questions, and watch your gratitude grow and flourish.

Gratitude is what happens when we give someone else credit for something we have received. Someone else gave you something you did not get on your own.

I am grateful for my kids.

Why? Because they are awesome. To whom am I grateful? I am grateful to my kids. Why? Because they listen to most of what I ask them to do, and I am grateful they listen. I give them credit for their part. I am grateful to my wife. Why? Because she is a great mother and has done an excellent job of teaming with me to shape them. I give her credit for her part. I am grateful to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why? Because God, our Father, created these specific kids with their personalities and gave them to us. Through the Holy Spirit, He also gives me wisdom for how to raise them in ways I could not do on my own. I am also grateful to our Father for blessing me with my wife, with whom I agree on how we parent. I am also grateful for Jesus because He has given me a way of life that works, upon which I can confidently train my kids.


This “questions” exercise helps me understand how our Father works to bless me daily in one area of my life. As I work through this, I am deeply humbled—I cannot have awesome kids on my own. That is impossible. And my Father is actively working in my parenting. The One True God of all creation exerts energy in my life to make me a better parent than I could be on my own. That is very humbling.

And then I am filled with joy. Joy that God has blessed me so richly. Joy that He cares so perfectly. Joy that I get to enjoy the blessing of my kids. Joy that I get to share them with my wife. Joy flows freely from gratitude.

And then my faith becomes stronger. I see the goodness of my Father with clarity in my parenting, which encourages me to see my Father’s goodness in other areas of my life. As I trust Him in parenting my children, I am encouraged to trust Him in other areas. Gratitude in one area helps me clearly see the great work God is doing in every area of my life.

And then my peace multiplies because I do not fear failure. I have confidence in the ways of God for my life. I do not have to worry that my way of parenting will be upgraded or outdated. I can walk in peace and confidence because of God’s faithfulness.

Humility, joy, faith, and peace all freely flow from digging into gratitude. Gratitude is powerful, beautiful, and rhythmic.

We also see the wisdom of our Father’s will as we experience the power of gratitude to immunize us from negativity. Complaining is always easy. Especially in light of all the toxicity in our culture today. Many people are angry, filled with all manner of negativity from the pandemic and lock down mess to the presidential election and political chaos. Gratitude immunizes us from that toxicity by training us to focus on God’s faithfulness regardless of the chaos.

If you get this kind of great clarity when you ask questions in one area of your life, if you get this kind of protection from negativity, what happens when you apply the same exercise in other areas of your life? Your job. Your skill set. Your finances. Your outlook. Your friends. Your purpose. Your church.

As followers of Jesus, we genuinely have tables-full for which to be thankful! Do your heart a favor this Thanksgiving season and take some time and sit with your Father. Make a list of what you are thankful for. Consider the many ways our Father has been at work to bless you with each item on your list. Watch as your gratitude deepens, freely producing many other rich and life-giving emotions for you to enjoy—along with all the turkey and dressing you can eat!



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