God’s Will Is That You Be Thankful
We’re talking about how a person can know what God’s will is for their life. One of the things we’re learning is that God’s will is more about being the person God has called you to be, rather than trying to figure out what God is up to.
A major aspect of God’s will for your life is that you be a thankful person. That’s right, thankful.
Question: Are you a thankful person?
It would seem natural for someone who is saved, having the Holy Spirit living inside them 24/7, to be a thankful person. But far too often we are nothing of the sort. How bizarre. Being thankful is the mark of a genuine child of God, and God’s will for you is to be a person who demonstrates uncompromising thankfulness.
Every one of God’s children is at a different state of spiritual maturity and sanctification, but thankfulness would seem to be an area of life that every believer should be overwhelming conquerors in. God wants you to be thankful in every area of your life, during every circumstance of it, even when the details are not going as planned.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica,
“in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18; underline mine).
It doesn’t matter if the situation you find yourself in right now is inconvenient or even uncomfortable. You are to be thankful. To not be thankful is to forfeit God’s will for your life.
But what else does the Bible say about the kind of life a Christian needs to live in order to rightly discern God’s will?
God’s Will Is That You Be Prayerful
As mentioned above, being thankful would seem almost second nature for a true believer, but there is another area that would seem even more natural, and that is the spiritual act of prayer.
Praying is communication with God. Christians pray to God the Father, in the name of God the Son, and through the power of God’s Spirit. When praying, you demonstrate humility and a trust in God for what you can’t do for yourself.
There are many components of biblical prayer, a few of which are praise, asking God for your daily needs, petitioning God to keep you out of harm’s way and from the evil one, and intercession on behalf of others. God hears your prayers and answers them, both according to His plan and for your ultimate good. It is weird that someone saved, sanctified, and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, could pray so haphazardly.
Jesus often prayed, and usually for hours at a time. The apostle Paul prayed often as well. While writing to the Christians in Rome, he said,
“always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you” (Romans 1:10; underline mine).
Paul knew that even his travel plans rested in the hands of God. Later in that same letter, Paul wrote,
“so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company” (Romans 15:32).
When praying to God, we speak, listen, and react. We’re telling God what is on our hearts and we’re asking God to show us His will. In that same letter to the Romans, Paul later wrote,
“and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27; underline mine).
Think about that for a moment.
When you pray, the Spirit of God that is in you causes you to pray for the things God wants to accomplish both in and through you. It is for this very reason that prayer is such an intricate aspect of discerning God’s will. To not pray is to say, effectively, that you really don’t want God’s will done in your life; that you couldn’t care less.
Question: How is your prayer life right now?
When you pray to God, the Spirit of God works in your life, unfolding His plan right before your very eyes. But what I also find interesting is that sometimes our prayers are the very means God uses to disclose His will in other people’s lives as well.
While writing to the Colossian Christians, Paul told them,
“Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12; italics mine).
One critical element for discerning God’s will is that you also pray for the other people in your own local church assembly. That is God’s plan for you and the local church you attend for fellowship. God wants you to be a prayer warrior, both for yourself and for others!
QUESTION: How can we, as Christians, be more thankful and become more diligent at maintaining an active prayer life? (Please use the comment section below to answer.)
* Image credit: Luke Skilbeck (Creation Swap)