“Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20).
Sincere thanks to God will result at all times if we are truly filled with the Spirit.
I’m convinced that gratitude is the single greatest act of personal worship we can render to God. And today’s verse plainly asserts that thankfulness should be a well-rounded, consistent response to whatever God allows to happen in our lives (see 1 Thess. 5:18). Such a thankful attitude is impossible in our own strength, but as the Holy Spirit indwells us, He graciously and mercifully enables us to be thankful at all times, without exception.
It follows that if a Spirit-filled believer is enabled to give thanks at all times, he will also be strengthened to give thanks “for all things.” Implicit in Paul’s words are the hard things (see also James 1:2-5; 1 Peter 2:20-21); but there are also dozens of blessings that we must not neglect to be grateful for. Here are some primary examples: God’s goodness and mercy (Ps. 106:1), the gift of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 9:15), the gospel’s triumph (2 Cor. 2:14), and victory over death (1 Cor. 15:56-57).
The Spirit-filled Christian will always display his gratefulness in the name of Christ to God the Father. We could not be thankful at all if it were not for the Person and work of Jesus Christ. So to be thankful in His name simply means it will be consistent with His character and deeds (see Eph. 1:5-8, 11-12).
God is the ultimate object of all our thanksgivings, and Father is the name that highlights His loving benevolence and the constant flow of His gracious gifts that come to those who know Him (see James 1:17). We just can’t escape the importance of our continually offering thanks to God on every occasion, for everything. Hebrews 13:15 presents us with this excellent summary: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
Suggestions for Prayer
Think of something you have not thanked God for in the past. Confess that neglect, and begin thanking Him for it regularly from now on.
For Further Study
Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-23.
How was that opportunity for gratitude different from those mentioned in the lesson?
How did Jehoshaphat demonstrate His trust in God?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.