In All Things, Give
by Jason Lovelace
I Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks: for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Peter 4:16 – Yet, if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
What are some things that you give thanks for? When you think about your
life, in what areas of your life are you grateful?
What do you think you should give
thanks for? Should you give thanks for the good things of life only, or should
you also give thanks for the bad? The Bible has a lot to say when it comes to
Point #1 – The Easy Answer:
Of course, we should always be thankful for the blessings and good things that
come into our lives. Every book in the Bible speaks of the need for giving
thanks to God for the good times, for the blessings, and for the good things we
receive. The Book of James states that every good and perfect gift is from
above, from God the Father (James 1:17). We all probably know someone who is an
ingrate? Do you know that word, ingrate? An ingrate is someone – no
matter what he or she receives, be it good or bad – who does not say
“Thank you” and is basically ungrateful, unthankful for anything and
everything. If you look at many of today’s celebrities, many of them are truly
ingrates. They think that everything is theirs to enjoy, and even when someone
gives them something, they never say thank you. God. However, instructs his
followers to behave differently. His Word speaks that we should give thanks for
every good thing we receive. This shows that we are truly grateful.
This should be especially so when we think of the price that Jesus Christ paid
on the cross. For you who are a Christian, how often do you say “Thank you!” to
Jesus Christ for the forgiveness he has given you? Do you truly understand what
Jesus Christ did, what he gave up, so that you and I could be saved from a
fiery eternity? When we think of Jesus Christ, when we think of the price He
paid on the cross for our sins, and if we have received Jesus into our hearts
and lives, we must be thankful. We can never repay him for what he has done for
us. The best way to be grateful is to give yourself to Jesus, and to live for
him completely.. It’s also good to thank him for his gift of eternal life when
we pray. We need to give thanks for the good things, and for the ultimate gift
of eternal life.
Point #2 – Thank You for Punching Me!
We know that we ought to be thankful
for the good things we receive, but how about the bad times? Should we be
thankful in hard, bad times? If you have some terrible thing happen, do you say
thank you to God for it? If someone steals your money, or you are hit by the
driver of another car, are you grateful? Maybe you think that these words are crazy,
but consider today’s verse from I Thessalonians 5:18. God says through Paul to
be thankful in all things. How is this possible? How can we be thankful in all
things? Think about Job. Do you know this person? Have you read the book of
Job? Besides Jesus Christ, nobody in the Bible suffered worse than Job. He lost
all his goods, lost his family, his home, and even his health. His wife turned
against him, and his children were killed. Even his friends, when they came to
comfort and help him ended up criticizing him. But in spite of all of this, job
praised the Lord, and even thanked him for the hard times. Listen to his words
to his wife; Job’s wife told him to “curse God and die”, but Job, instead, said
Shall we receive Good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
In another part of the book, Job also
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
How is this possible? How can someone, who had his home, his life,
his possessions, his health, and everything else taken away say these things?
How can a father and husband who saw his children killed, and watched his wife
walk away from him lift his head and his hands and praise the Lord for it all?
When bad times, hard times happen to people around you, what are other peoples’
attitudes? When tragedy or hardships strike you, what kind of spirit do you
have? It is hard to have a grateful heart in hard times, and yes, it is also
hard to have a positive attitude when tragedy strikes, but this is what God
says. Consider the words of Job and the words of Jesus Christ. When Jesus was
crucified, he did not complain. Instead, he said “Father, forgive…” It is
important to give thanks when we go through hard times as well as blessings.
Point #3 – What Doesn’t Kill a Person Makes Him or Her Stronger:
One of the reasons that we should give thanks even in the hard times is because
strength comes from the hard times. Think about a sport that you enjoy. My
favorite sport is weight lifting. My coaches in weight lifting always taught
that the muscles of the human body grow stronger when they are broken down.
This breaking down comes through the hard, tough training of lifting. It’s the
same for any sport, or for any study, for that matter. Hard work, hard
training, and hard study produce great results later. It is the same with the
formation of a diamond. What is a diamond? How is it made? Do you know what a
diamond really is? A diamond is really just a lump of coal. The difference,
though, between a diamond and coal is that the diamond has gone through long,
hard, hot, and intense pressure. A diamond is formed by way of pressure, heat,
and time. Some scientists say that it takes 1,000 or more years for a diamond
to form. During that time, it is going through intense heat, pressure, and
In the same way, God tests us. Job was tested by God. In the end, with God’s
help, Job proved himself faithful, and Job was doubly rewarded in the end. In
the same way, we, too, will grow stronger, and receive a great reward from God
if we hiold true to him, and are thankful for the hard times. One of the
greatest rewards is being identified with Jesus Christ, and when we suffer, all
the while being thankful, we are taking Christ’s attitude, and people will see
it! Later, we will be able to help others because of the strength that God gave
us because of the hard times. The hard times we go through make us stronger.
Point #4 – Praise God and Give the Devil a Black Eye!
The last reason we need ot be thankful for hard tiems is because of the enemy.
Though God allows hard times to come, it is the devil that brings thiose hard
times. Job chapters 1 and 2 show clearly that the devil brings hard times upon
everyone, especially followers of Jesus Christ. The reason God allows the hard
times is to make us stronger, but the devil brings the hard times so that we
will “curse (God) to (his) face.” (Job 1:11, Job 2:5). The devil wants us to
turn away from God, grumble, complain, whine, and eventually turn against him.
Have you ever heard someone say “Why is God doing this to me?” or “Where is God
in my trouble?” This is why the devil brings trouble. Think about the children
of Israel when Moses led them out of Egypt. How often in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy do the Children of Israel grumble and complain about
the hardships of their travel to the Promised Land? How often did they accuse
Moses and God of “brining us to the desert to die”? What happened to these
ungrateful Children of Israel? Instead of taking a trip that was about a year
or two at most, the grumbling and complaining of the Children of Israel
resulted in them wandering in the desert for 40 years. This is what the devil
wants from us! He wants us to turn from God, to complain, to “curse (God) to
(hid) face” and die! But when we praise God in the face of hard times, we do
something to the devil that is like punching him in the eye. The devil wants us
to complain, but when we praise God for the hard times, instead of curse him,
we stop the devil in his tracks. Praising God in the hard times instead of
cursing him proves the devil a liar. In the hard times, Praise God (don’t curse
him), because it helps to defeat the devil.
Conclusion – Are You Going Through Hard Times?
Are you having a tough time right now? If you are, what kind of attitude do you
have? Is it a good attitude, one of thanks and praise to God, or are you
ungrateful, cursing and complaining to God, blaming him, and ignoring the test?
It is hard to go through tough times and have a good attitude. We can do it if
we go on the strength of the LORD. Alone, we will become bitter, hard,
ungrateful, and, in the end, in a place where God doesn’t want us to be. Let’s
We pray, today, O LORD, for anyone who is reading this who is
going through some hard times. For those who know you not, Father, we pray that
they will come to know you, in spite of the hard times, and that they will see
this as the day in which they came to know you. We pray for the believer,
Father, the brother and sister who may be going through a hard spot or a tough
time. We pray, LORD, that you will comfort them in the hard time, and
strengthen them, helping them to rejoice despite the pain, and praise You, in
the face of the hurt! We pray all of this in the Saving Name of Jesus Christ,
Verse to Remember
…the LORD gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the
name of the LORD.