Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
[1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMPC]
I chose the Amplified Version of Thessalonians 5:18 here because it says be thankful and give thanks. It emphasises both aspects of giving thanks — the words and, more importantly, the heart. To give thanks we must also be thankful. I can say “Thank You, Lord,” but if I am gritting my teeth as I say it, then I be not thankful at all. It requires a change of heart, and the answer to the change is the ‘ever and always’ one — prayer.
In our translation here we are told that this thankfulness is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus. And the bracketed qualifying statement tells us that Christ is the Revealer and Mediator of the will of God. Unless we are in Christ Jesus — in the Holy Spirit — then we are nowhere and our thanksgiving is hollow and without meaning. Verse 19 tells us “Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit;” and quenching the Holy Spirit is what looking to ourselves and our own disquiet is doing, but we can avoid this quenching of the Spirit, and be in the right spirit to be thankful, if we heed the preceding verse — verse 17 — “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];” Prayer comes before being thankful, because it brings us into relationship with Christ.
Paul recognised God’s order in our relationship with Christ, and that order always involves prayer, because prayer is our direct link to Him. Without that communication, there is no relationship. Look at the sevenfold order that Paul states at the conclusion of 1 Thessalonians 5:
We also considered this verse from 1 Thessalonians in the meditation ‘In Everything Give Thanks’ from October 2020. Click on the title if you wish to visit that meditation.
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