What Does The Bible Mean By "In Everything Give Thanks?"


I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Below is a rough draft of a partial transcript of one of Pastor Hayford’s teachings "How To Pray Without Ceasing" (tape #3206):

      ...For us to develop what is God’s call to prayer in the spirit of joy, I want us to see this word in I Thess. 5:, "pray without ceasing," to see it in the light of the preceding verse, "rejoice always." In other words, always be rejoicing while you’re praying without ceasing; and then the ensuing phrase, and "in everything giving thanks." So in the spirit of rejoicing and thanksgiving, vss. 16, 17, and 18, on each side of this command, "pray without ceasing," are these words, "rejoice always" and "give thanks in everything." So rejoicing and giving thanks go along with praying without ceasing.... The Bible says that our call, as a people, is to introduce a place for the entry of His rule to work instead of what is the present prevailing rule of Hell, of darkness. How many times do people accommodate themselves to circumstances, saying, "Well, this must be the will of God." Classically written in every insurance policy this provision "...except it be an act of God." And you know what "acts of God" are. Culturally defined, "acts of God" are the worst things that happen. ... I’ve heard people interpret it this way. They say, "Well, whatever happens to you is the will of God. So the smartest thing you can do is give thanks.... So just praise God because that was His will concerning you. I don’t understand it, but this just must be the will of God." We compound it by misapplying one of the dearest verses in all the Bible where the scripture says that God is working His high purpose in us. Romans 8:28, "For we know that all things work together for good for them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."(see footnote below). ... The Bible doesn’t say that everything that happens to us is something He designed and is good. It says that in it, through it, and beyond it, He can work good where He’s invited....

      "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you." What’s the will of God concerning you? That in everything we give thanks. That’s the will of God concerning you. The thing that happened isn’t necessarily, but that you give God praise in the middle of it. Why? Because you feel good? No. But praying without ceasing introduces a song of praise into a situation that’s so tough you find yourself standing facing it with tears. Begin to sing, not because you say, "Well, I guess I need to submit to this because God intended me to have this horrible event in my life." But by the song, by the praise, we begin to infest the situation with the possibilities of His presence and His power. Rather than resigning the situation unto the best way we can muddle our way through it, or pry our way through it. ... "We’ll just do the best that we can." The best that you can make of it is not going to be very good. The best that He can make of it will be something that will bring the reason the Bible tells us to "in everything give thanks;" not because God foisted or worked this number on you to get even with you or somebody else, but because the Lord says, "Into the poison pollution of this planet, if praise is lifted up there will come the presence of My power. So lift up song because it invites God’s presence. Lift up praise."

Below is a footnote from the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, of which Pastor Hayford served as General Editor:

      Even in hardship and suffering, even in bitter disappointments, even when wrongly treated, Christians can know that God will work amidst such situations to fulfill His good purpose in His children. The situation may or may not be directly changed by God, but even if situations stay difficult God guarantees ultimate good results, including maturation of character to those who are the called. (Note: The certainties of this verse must be kept in union with the responsible participation into which we enter with the Holy Spirit, described in vv. 26, 27.)


Resources:
1.) "How To Pray Without Ceasing"

2.) Spirit-Filled Life Bible

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