Posted by: The Simple Guy | August 11, 2010

Thankfulness and Rejoicing

Following the theme of thankfulness, lets look at a couple of passages where Paul seems to hit on this theme.  He seems to tie the themes of thankfulness and rejoicing together.  I believe they are inextricably tied together, and depend upon each other totally.

First, lets look at Philippians 4:

Php 4:4-9 ESV
(4)  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
(5)  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
(6)  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
(7)  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(8)  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
(9)  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul tells us to rejoice in Christ, and it bears repeating.  Our reasonable spirit should be evident to all because Christ is right next to us, He is “at hand”

Since He is at hand, we are not to worry.  Instead we are to take EVERYTHING to him with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. In return, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.

Speaking of minds, he tells us what to think about:

Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy.

I want to notice a couple of things here.  Paul did not instruct us on how to feel.  He instructed us on what we do.

Rejoice

Don’t worry

With prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving; make your requests known to Christ.

Think about things the way God sees things. Reality, not my illusions.

I would submit to you that Thankfulness and Rejoicing are not feelings.  They stem from decisions.  They are faith in action.

My back hurts.  It has for a couple of weeks now.   I could whine and complain.  Or I can rejoice that my name is written in the book of life, that I will one day trade in this weak frame for His strength and this mortality will one day take on immortality.  I can thank God that this isn’t all there is, and that what is in store is so much better.  Does that make my back feel better?  No.  But it puts the problem in perspective.  If I have no hope, and this is all there is, I must find a solution to the back problem quickly, because it is making me miss out on my only shot!  Ya only go ’round once, go for all the gusto ya can!

Rejoicing in Christ is about where I have placed my hope.  What is my highest treasure?  Thankfulness is simply reminding myself of what is true.  It is what Philippians 4:8 looks like in footprints.

Let’s look at 1 Thess. 5.

1Th 5:16-24 ESV
(16)  Rejoice always,
(17)  pray without ceasing,
(18)  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(19)  Do not quench the Spirit.
(20)  Do not despise prophecies,
(21)  but test everything; hold fast what is good.
(22)  Abstain from every form of evil.
(23)  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(24)  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Again we see the same themes.  Always rejoice.  Never cease in prayer.  In everything give thanks because this is God’s will concerning you.  Don’t “turn off” the Spirit or what he says.  Instead prove everything through Him and hold fast to that which is good while abstaining from every form of evil.

Now God Himself (there is a strong emphasis there) who sanctified you, will complete what He started.  He will keep your whole self clean and blameless unto the Day.  This is based upon His faithfulness.   He will do it.

Again rejoicing and thankfulness are not feelings but faith in action.  They are based upon seeing life through God’s eyes.  When God allows us to see past this world’s illusions, what is left but rejoicing and thanksgiving?  When others let me down, I am thankful that He is faithful.  He will do it!  When I am confused, I am thankful that He is not, and He has promised to guide me.  Then I ask for that guidance and trust Him to do it.

I have also found that suffering helps me to recognize the illusions of this world for what they are and cling to Christ.  In suffering I am allowed, even driven to rejoicing and thankfulness if He is my prize.

So let me encourage you to rejoice in Him and give thanks today.

Craig

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Responses

  1. Amen and Amen! I needed that reminder today Brother!
    Thanks so much for declaring our sure hope……The Lord Jesus Christ. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us! And, He is indeed, our Counselor and Guide.

  2. Tom,
    Thanks for your comment. Actually, I went to bed last night with your previous comment on my mind. As I thought about what you said, and tossed and turned with my sore back, the result was this post. So you were instrumental.
    Hope you are well, as I am praying for you. Thanks for the visit and the fellowship.
    Over there we’ll have to visit as we praise him unhindered! I look forward to it my friend.

    Craig

  3. Craig,

    I truly appreciate your prayers nad fellowship! I will borrow from the Apostle Paul and say, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” (Phil.1:3)
    I do ask that you continue to labor for me in prayer as I look to Christ to give sufficient grace for each day and for the struggles as they come! I never cease to be amazed at His goodness and provision for me through encouraging brethren, such as you!
    Thanks for your faithful “coming along beside”!


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