It is impossible to be thankful for something when we fail to see the good in it. I do not mean to start sounding negative, but I would rather us know the error in our way. We gather with family and friends on a day when gratitude is abundant. But, sadly, we get into a bad habit when we dwell on the negatives in our lives, country, and world. Now, I know there is no shortage of bad things around us. However, spending all our time focused on that will make us bitter and miserable. For example, many walk around defeated because of election results. Your candidate may not have won, but the other candidate is not all bad. It is hard for you to see because you are focused on things you do not like. I have seen people in churches get so focused on one thing they did not want happening in the church that they could not see the good around them. This list could continue, but I will end it here because you get the point.
The Apostle exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7 NASB).” There are some difficult situations that we will walk through. In those times, we will need the peace Paul is talking about.
Something is fantastic about rejoicing in God and experiencing His peace because we have placed a situation into His hands through prayer with thanksgiving. It is difficult to be thankful when things do not look very promising. However, this is what Scripture teaches us to do. Paul knew about the difficulty of what he was telling us to do. He offers us the key to having gratitude in tough times. He went on to say, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8 NASB).” The instruction is explicit. We should never dwell on the bad but on the good.
We often make ourselves miserable because we focus on things we shouldn’t. Instead, we should find the good in others and focus on that. We must find the positives in our situations, even when they are few and far between. So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, find accurate, honorable, proper, pure, lovely, and good things to dwell on. Trust me; I need to do this as much as anyone. So, I will try to dwell on the good around me.
May the Lord guide you into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thess. 3:5 NASB)
Thankful In Christ,
Pastor Josh May