giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(Ephesians 5:20 ESV)
When a child of God allows him/herself to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which we recently learned is God’s command for us, we will want to praise Him through song. We read about this yesterday. The second thing we will want to do is give thanks. When we surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit we create within ourselves a thankful heart.
The overall context of this section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is how a child of God should live differently than the evil world surrounding them. We are to be light that exposes darkness. When we complain we are being darkness. When we give thanks, even in the hard times, we are being light.
Notice that we are to give thanks always and for everything. Admittedly, this is not easy to do. There are bad things that happen in our lives and all over the world. But it would be wrong for a child of God to complain. We need to keep in mind that the things of earth are temporary. And, even more importantly, God can use whatever happens for good [Romans 8:28]. When we complain or lose heart we are showing a lack of faith in God.
This does not mean we should be Polyannas who ignore pain and destitution. This would not be helpful. But it does mean that our faith should be on display because, despite not always understanding the reason, we do understand the remedy. When we display confidence in God people will take notice and we can explain the reason for our hope [1 Peter 3:15].
I know too many people to simply hope in hope. Their motto is “believe”. But believe in what? The verb “believe” requires a direct object. We don’t believe for the sake of believing. That would be inane.
Rather we should put our hope in God. When we do we are able to give thanks even when things don’t go the way we’d like them to. When we have hope in God we can give thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are opportunities for giving thanks to God all around us. Charles Spurgeon said “Every hour, yea, every moment has brought a favor upon its wings. Look downward and give thanks, for you are saved from hell; look on the right hand and give thanks, for you are enriched with gracious gifts; look on the left hand and give thanks, for you are shielded from deadly ills; look above you and give thanks, for heaven awaits you.”
Complaining is ubiquitous in our world, even more so since the introduction of the Internet and social media. Just like members of the Royal Family are expected to conduct themselves in a certain manner, so too are members of God’s family. When we complain like the world does we are being a very poor witness to those who so desperately need to see Jesus in their own darkness.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.