How to Be Thankful!

Sometimes it can be very difficult to feel thankful, especially when the circumstances of life bring us down. Whenever we feel that we have nothing to be thankful for, we can turn to a great example, the Apostle Paul.

Paul was unjustly accused of crimes he didn’t commit. He was abandoned by most of his friends, and imprisoned by people who brutally beat him for following Christ. Yet Paul was able to learn how to be content in his circumstances, and he did that by giving thanks.

Encourage yourself daily

In Ephesians 5:19-20, Paul says this, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here he was, chained in prison, yet he encouraged himself, and us, to praise and give thanks to God, always and for everything. We can begin by thanking God for being with us through our trials and amidst our problems. This is especially important when we feel like everyone has failed us, let us down, or abandoned us.  As we remind ourselves that God is near, we are also confirming to God that we are standing on His promise to be our source of help and comfort. Even very sick people, who live with pain on a daily basis, attest to the fact that praising God through their sickness can greatly reduce their pain, and leave them with a feeling of great peace.

Think about the right things

It’s easy to get discouraged. However, Paul gives us great advise in Philippians 4:8 when he offers instruction on our thoughts. “Whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about these things.” We are the only ones who can control our own thoughts, so we must think about what we are actually thinking about!  Remember that our words or complaints typically follow our thoughts. When we begin to think like God thinks, our words should follow suit, and change can happen when we begin to speak positive affirmations about our situations, always basing them on the word of God. If you are sick, read and speak scripture talking about God’s healing power. If you are out of work, begin to read and speak scripture about God answering prayer. Prayer is our way of activating the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We also become good examples to others of how we should conduct ourselves in hard times.

Go out of your way

When we are going through a difficult time, sometimes the best medicine is to focus our thoughts and actions away from ourselves. When Paul focused on praying for others, many miracles happened in his life, and in the lives of others. Go out of your to find someone who helped you or encouraged you. Then, purposefully visit, call, or write them to let them know that you are thankful for their input into your life.

Paul’s Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a]of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Despite the fact that we may not be able to think of a single thing to be thankful for in our earthly lives, we can begin by simply thanking God for giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins, so that one day, we will live with Him for Eternity.

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