The apostle Paul wrote the words, “Be thankful in all circumstances ...” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT).
How could he be thankful in all circumstances - in prison, in beatings, in all kinds of situations that most people would find tragic and unbearable? It is because Paul trusted God to take care of him in the very best way (Romans 8:28) while he himself focused on “the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side.” Colossians 3:1 (CEB).
Faith makes it possible to “always be joyful”
He was always focused on looking for those things in his human nature which would not fit into the kingdom of heaven—that place for which his heart longed. And when situations went against him—as they so often do for us—he saw how he wanted to complain or even repay evil with evil. But the grace he had received through his faith in Christ Jesus made it possible for him to resist those negative things which he saw in himself, and something new and eternal and heavenly came in its place. That is why he could always be thankful.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “We are full of joy even when we suffer.” Romans 5:3 (NIRV). He welcomed sufferings because he was sure that something eternal was being created in him if he just kept a living faith in God! He had received a faith which gave him the ability to “always be joyful” and be thankful in everything, even for those things which were unpleasant, or which seemed completely unbearable.
His thankfulness truly honoured God! And he tells us to do the same: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT). That’s why Paul had a “feast” in his heart, always, in all circumstances. Let us follow Paul in this, as he followed Christ!