Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lessons in Thankfulness from Philippians 4

 The turkey was in the fridge. The canned pumpkin and stuffing fixings sat on the pantry shelf. Everything was telling me that I should be ready for Thanksgiving. Yet my spirit didn’t feel thankful.

Feelings are not what should direct my life, but it is so easy to let them take hold, and to take the place of my love for God. Then my whole outlook on life can turn to a dreary gray. And I grow consumed with:
The weight of my worries
Lack of sleep, feeling ugly inside and out.
            Impatience, and frustration with people I love.

Worry, tiredness, impatience...mix these feelings together and you get an ugly package of ungratefulness. Now, I could just chalk up these feelings to hormones, and a house full of sick family members, but I knew that my soul was also suffering. And that was when God prompted me to open up His Word... Philippians 4:11-13, which says:
“...I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Here was Paul, in a prison cell, and he was content. What was His secret for facing challenges? Strength from God. How does a person receive God’s strength? Let’s back up to verse 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I will say, Rejoice.”

And verses 6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. For the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I wanted to be filled with this strength, to have joy and peace in God, even when I didn’t feel like it. How could I find joy? By rejoicing in who God is and what He has done for me. And peace? By praying “with thanksgiving.” Communication with God always fills me with peace, but I often forget this and try to handle situations on my own.

Honestly, I am not feeling the most joyful at the moment. I am getting over the flu, and was disappointed to find that I was still sick on Thanksgiving. But through reading God’s Word I am being strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and the fever I had this morning is pretty much gone. So this could have been a chance to practice what I preach and to be content “in whatever situation.”
And I think my spirit is feeling a little more thankful now. Thanks, God.

1 comment:

  1. Note: the Greek word for content is "autarkes," pronounced “ow-tar'-kace,” which ironically sounds like “ow, turkeys.” Rather appropriate for Thanksgiving, is it not? ;)