Throughout January, we have been looking at the various situations where ‘giving thanks’ can make a powerful difference to our lives. As we look back, we can see that our thanksgiving actually is giving expression to our faith. If we are not feeling that ‘faith’, we can by choosing to intentionally ‘give thanks’ actually, as it were, ‘pull ‘ ourselves into a place of faith, in the various different life situations we have been looking at.
As we consider the transformational power of thanksgiving, we can then understand why Paul encouraged the church in Thessaloniki to ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods’ will for you in Christ Jesus’. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
This encouragement from Paul can especially apply when I am wondering what the Lords’ will is, or what He wants me to do, or say in a certain situation. From these verses, I know that, whatever the ‘overall will’ of God for me, in the immediate His will is that i) I stay joyful, ii) I pray, and iii) that I give thanks in the situation facing me.
I can stay joyful because I know He is with me, and committed to helping me. I can also pray and give thanks, because I know that He loves me, and will give His wisdom to me unstintingly, if I ask for it without doubting. ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt’. James 1:5
Those doubts could be about my own worthiness to be guided, about my own ability to ‘hear’ the Lord, or even about the Lords willingness to show me the way ahead. Thanksgiving can demolish, or at least minimise my unbelief, and it will give voice to my faith, that, He will give the wisdom and the guidance that I need.
If it is wisdom for a big decision in my life, I may need to wait a while for the answer. If it is to know the Lords will in the course of my day to day life, that is, to know His wisdom in a difficult circumstance, or an awkward situation, then it may not come in the way I expect, or through the ‘direct line’ that we would all like to have with heaven.
Our thanksgiving, that is, our expression of trust, that wisdom will come, opens up in us, the grace to receive the beautiful wisdom that we need. We will know it’s wisdom from God, because it’s different to worldly wisdom. Gods’ wisdom is always, ‘pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere’. James 3:17.
So whenever you find yourself wondering what to do or what the will of God is for you, there is no better way to start your conversation with the Lord than to pray – ask for the guidance you need- and then give thanks to Him. Thank Him for the situation, or for the choice before you, then thank Him that He is with you, and wait expectantly for His wisdom to come.