by Rebekah Harvey
The last two weeks in Simple Truths Bible Study we have been talking about thanksgiving and not the traditional sense of just the holiday. We looked at some of the writings of Paul and how he was such an encouragement in giving thanks.
In several of his letters Paul used complementary and loving terms as he would begin his introductions to the “believers” and ”faithful followers”, “God’s holy people”. He would then write to each group of what he was thankful for from each of them.
For the believers in Rome he was thankful because their faith was becoming known throughout the world. We know that he was thankful for the church in Thessalonica for this reason as well. He expresses thankfulness because some of them were his partners in spreading the Good News about Christ, others because of their strong faith in Jesus and love for Christians everywhere. Paul was a man of thanksgiving for the people in his life and to our gracious Lord Jesus.
This past weekend Pastor Doug finished his study in 1 Thessalonians and we read through 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We are to give thanks in everything, not for everything. Not all that happens in our lives is good and you might wonder how you could give thanks in bad circumstances. I would encourage you to thank God that He is faithful, He never changes, that He is sovereign and in complete control of everything.
Paul was a man that experienced many tribulations and trials, he was whipped with 39 stripes five times, forty is what was allowable by law. I imagine he might not have been very attractive to look at after all of that. He was shipwrecked and imprisoned, and suffered a tremendous amount for the Gospel’s sake. Yet in spite of all this he remained thankful and encouraged us to be as well. Paul encouraged us in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Difficult situations and circumstances can help us grow and develop into what God has called us to be and do in our lives.
This brings us to muscle memory, which is the process of a task repeated over and over developing memory through repetition and without conscious effort. We could make it our goal that we want to be a thankful person and that it would be such a normal thing for us, something that we do over and over that it becomes part of who we are, like muscle memory.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”