by Rick Warren
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Thanksgiving is not supposed to be a day that we celebrate once a year. It is to be a spiritual habit of the radical believer. The more deeply you understand God’s love, the more grateful you’re going to be.
So what does it mean to be radically grateful?
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). That’s radical gratitude. In all circumstances give thanks, because it’s God’s will for you.
You can thank God in every circumstance because God is in control. He can bring good out of evil. He can turn around the stupid mistakes you make. No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving you. There are a hundred things to be thankful for in any circumstance, even when the circumstances stink.
Radical gratitude — being thankful in all circumstances — is God’s will because it creates fellowship.
What do I mean by that? Gratitude always builds deeper relationships between you and other people and between you and God.
Whoever you want to get closer to, start expressing gratitude to that person. If you’ve moved away from your husband or your wife, you need to start doing what you did when you were dating: Express gratitude. Write little notes of kindness and encouragement. Make calls or text during the day, just to tell him or her that you’re thankful. Do the things you did at first. The reason you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling is because you stopped doing the things that created that lovin’ feeling early on, and you take each other for granted.
Do you want to build your small group? Don’t just go to small group. During the week, text them, email them, call them, write them. Say, “I’m grateful for you, and here’s why.” You’ll find that the more grateful you are for your group, the more your group will bond.
The Bible tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). As you build others up, you’ll find that God builds into your life as well through your deep relationships with him and others.