In Everything Give Thanks
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Only by His wonderful grace can we see from His perspective, rejoice always, and continually give thanks. Only by His life in us can we walk in humility and live together in the victory of His cross. Only by His Spirit in us can we obey His Word and follow His ways. Therefore we can thank Him -- not only for the sunny days and happy moments -- but even more for those things that show us our need and draw us closer to Him:
- conviction of sin which exposes our need for His salvation
- weaknesses that show our need for His strength
- difficulties that can keep us close to Jesus
- hardships that keep us hidden in Him each moment
- earthly disappointments that set our hearts on eternity
From My utmost for his highest by Oswald Chambers
1. Thank God for our salvation!
"By the grace of God I am what I am His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15: 10
"The way we continually talk about our own inability is an insult to the Creator. ... Get into the habit of examining in the sight of God the things that sound humble before men, and you will be amazed at how staggeringly impertinent they are. ‘Oh, I shouldn’t like to say I am sanctified; I’m not a saint.’ Say that before God; and it means—‘No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are chances I have not had; so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.’ That may sound wonderfully humble before men, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.
"Again, the things that sound humble before God may sound the opposite before men. To say—‘Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,’ is in the sight of God the acme of humility, it means you have so completely abandoned yourself to God that you know He is true. Never bother your head as to whether what you say sounds humble before men or not, but always be humble before God, and let Him be all in all." (November 30)
2. Thank God for His strength in our weakness!
"All my fresh springs shall be in Thee." Psalm 87:7
"Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues, He remakes the whole man on the inside. ... The life God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus.
"Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience! The sign that God is at work in us is that He corrupts confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but remnants of what God created man to be. We will cling to the natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us into contact with the life of Jesus Christ which can never be described in terms of the natural virtues.
"It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity. God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, because our natural virtues can never come anywhere near what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that are characteristic of the Lord Jesus." (December 30)
3. "Thank God for difficulties!
"Enter ye in at the strait gate . . . : because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way..." Matthew 7:13-14
"If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?
"God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus; He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not practised. The crisis will reveal whether we have been practising or not.
"If we obey the Spirit of God and practise in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us. Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! ... Jesus is bringing many 'sons unto glory,' and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. ... It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things." (July 7)
4. Thank God we belong to Him!
"Ye are not your own Know ye not that. . . ye are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19
"There is no such thing as a private life—‘a world within the world’—for a man or woman who is brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ’s sufferings. God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other.
"No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves, we are called into the fellowship of the Gospel, and things happen which have nothing to do with us, God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have his way, if you do not, instead of being of the slightest use to God in His Redemptive work in the world, you will be a hindrance....
"The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn’t we go through heartbreaks? Through these doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son.
"Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God’s purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so-called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death-bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says—‘Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.’
"If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart." (November 1)
5. Thank God for working into us the nature of Jesus!
"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" Luke 24:26
"Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life: His Resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me. When I am born again from above, I receive from the risen Lord His very life. Our Lord’s Resurrection destiny is to bring 'many sons unto glory.' ... His resurrection means for us that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we shall have a body like unto His glorious body, but we can know now the efficacy of His resurrection and walk in newness of life. 'I would know Him in the power of His resurrection.' ... Thank God it is gloriously and majestically true that the Holy Ghost can work in us the very nature of Jesus if we will obey Him." (April 8)
6. Thank God for our sanctification!
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification." 1 Thessalonians 4:3
"It is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me; is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me all that has been made possible by the Atonement? Am I willing to let Jesus be made sanctification to me, and to let the life of Jesus be manifested in my mortal flesh? Beware of saying—‘Oh, I am longing to be sanctified.’ You are not, stop longing and make it a matter of transaction— 'Nothing in my hands I bring.' Receive Jesus Christ to be made sanctification to you in implicit faith, and the great marvel of the Atonement will be made real in you. ...
"My attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness), a holiness based on agonizing repentance and a sense of unspeakable shame and degradation; and also on the amazing realization that the love of God commended itself to me.... No wonder Paul says nothing is 'able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
"Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is done only through the superb Atonement of Christ. Never put the effect as the cause. The effect in me is obedience and service and prayer, and is the outcome of speechless thanks and adoration for the marvelous sanctification wrought out in me because of the Atonement." (October 20)
7. Thank God for the pressure of His hand!
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me." Matthew 11:29.
“'Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.' How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say—‘Oh Lord, let me be like other people!’ Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke—‘My yoke is easy, get alongside Me and we will pull together.’
"Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand. “To them that have no might He increaseth strength.” God comes and takes us out of our sentimentality, and our complaining turns into a psalm of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him. 'The joy of the Lord is your strength.'
"Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say— ‘Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear.’ Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine; most of us see the wine only. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness. If you have the whine in you, kick it out...." (April 14)
8. Thank God for His grace & victory!
"Now thanks be to God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ." 2 Corinthians 2:14
"The viewpoint of a worker for God must not be as near the highest as he can get, it must be the highest. Be careful to maintain strenuously God’s point of view, it has to be done every day, bit by bit; don’t think on the finite. No outside power can touch the viewpoint. The viewpoint to maintain is that we are here for one purpose only, viz., to be captives in the train of Christ’s triumphs. We are not in God’s showroom, we are here to exhibit one thing—the absolute captivity of our lives to Jesus Christ.....
"Paul’s secret joy was that God took him, a red-handed rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive, and now that is all he is here for. Paul’s joy was to be a captive of the Lord, he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. ... The Victor ought to have got us so completely that it is His victory all the time, and we are more than conquerors through Him. 'For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ.'" (October 24)
8. Thank God for enabling us to live for Him!
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
"The natural creation and the creation of grace work together, and what we are apt to call the sordid things, laboring with our hands, and eating and drinking, have to be turned into spiritual exercises by obedience, then we shall 'eat and drink, and do all to the glory of God....
"'Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit' ... the handiwork of God, and it is in these bodies we are to find satisfaction, and that means strenuousness. Every power of mind and heart should go into the strenuousness of turning the natural into the spiritual by obeying the word of God regarding it. If we do not make the natural spiritual, it will become sordid; but when we become spiritual, the natural is shot through with the glory of God."