1 Thessalonians – Week 9
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Intro
Kind of like last week, “give thanks in all circumstances” might feel like a weighty mandate. All circumstances includes the loss of a child or a bad prognosis, which doesn’t feel like something to be thankful for.
But this verse isn’t calling us to a Stoic, unfeeling state of thankfulness. A couple of verses from Paul’s other writings can help us understand this. For instance, Romans 12:9-15, in which Paul tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” So there must be some compatibility between the commands to both “give thanks” and “weep.”
We would be mistaken to think that being thankful is purely a cheery, warm feeling. The primary way that the Bible presents thankfulness to us is over deliverance. Take any of the Psalms for instance (Psalm 9:1, 28:7, 52:9, etc.). Thankfulness is an emotive response of relief. We’re thankful to God because he saves. We can be thankful in all circumstances because our ultimate needs have already been met in Christ. Thus God is concerned that, in representing the truth of the Gospel in our lives, we should be able to point to the source of our thankfulness in Christ in all circumstances, because we recognize that our spiritual needs transcend all temporal needs without nullifying the experience of those needs.
Also, we can be thankful because Jesus came as a human to experience human life. He experienced hurt, hardship, scorn, betrayal, and worse. His ability to sympathize with us (Heb. 4:15) is a comfort to the Christian that can’t be overstated.
Questions for Discussion
• Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:18
• What’s your initial reaction to this passage?
• Why do you think God cares about your thankfulness?
• How could Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provide good reasons for our thankfulness?
• Not all situations feel like something we should be thankful for. How do we apply this verse during hurt and hardship?
• In what areas of your life do you think you need to grow in thankfulness?