Always Give Thanks
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. —Ephesians 5:15-21
“Giving thanks always and for everything,” is pretty clear. What should we be thankful for? Everything. Even the situations that may be anxiety-ridden? Yes. That’s a pretty tall order. Give thanks in everything. How do we do that?
Well first, we have to look at Proverbs 27:19, “As the water reflects the face, so the heart of the man reflects the man.” We are what we think. If in my heart I am angry, I will be angry towards those around me. If in my heart I am worried, I will be worried about everything. If in my heart I am thankful, I can be thankful for everything . . . even my troubles.
Having a heart full of thankfulness means that in the middle of all my anxiety and worry, my sweating and fainting and wringing of hands, I am thanking God. You see, He is already in the process of guarding my life and coming to me with an answer—in His time. Giving thanksgiving in prayer for all my troubles shows great faith because I am saying, God, You are way ahead of me on this. I can just leave the details that I can do nothing about to You. So, show me Your glory in how You choose to handle this.
Now let’s be honest. If there is something that we are praying about constantly, that is really only having sanctified anxiety and that is still sin! So what can we do?
First, allow yourself to pray about the situation only three times a day. Schedule prayer about this situation that is causing so much anxiety and then don’t allow yourself to think about it at any other time during the day.
Second, during the rest of the day when thoughts about the situation come up, and they will, stop the thoughts immediately. Confess that thinking about it again is sin and is actually causing more anxiety. Ask God’s forgiveness and then ask for the strength to think about something else.
Third, sometimes the best way to get our mind off our own problems is to begin to pray for someone else. Focus on the needs of others. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your own situation goes to the back of your mind when you are earnestly praying for another person’s situation.
We can give thanks for everything because even the worst of situations will drive us right to God. And He promises that His peace will stand guard over us. —Buddy Riddle
· What situation in my life is causing me the most anxiety?
· How can I apply these principles to my life?
Prayer – Father, Your Word says to always give thanks and to give thanks for everything. Without Your help, that is impossible. Forgive me for all the times that I worry about my situation. Forgive me for allowing myself to worry while I say to myself that I am only praying, when I am actually only giving myself permission to worry. In Jesus’ name, Amen.