In Everything Give Thanks


To give thanks seems like such a simple matter. We teach our children to say, “Thank you,” when something is given to or done for them. Yet at certain times in our lives, giving thanks to the Lord can be hard for us. In this post, we’ll see the secret to giving thanks in all things and how giving thanks is a crucial part of our experience of Christ.

Paul exhorts us to give thanks

The Bible has a lot to say about giving thanks; the word “thank” appears in some form numerous times in the Bible. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote about giving thanks at least 46 times. Surely he was touching something particular regarding this matter.

Throughout his epistles, Paul encouraged us to give thanks. But perhaps his most challenging charge is in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

“In everything”—this is the challenge. When we count our blessings, we’re grateful for things the Lord has done for us and supplied us with. So we happily give thanks. That’s pretty easy to do. But we have a harder time thanking Him when we seem to have run out of blessings and our situation doesn’t look very positive. Yet Paul says giving thanks in everything is God’s will for us. Was Paul speaking in theory or by personal experience?

Paul’s secret

We know from verses like Acts 16:24-25 and Acts 27:35 that Paul’s life wasn’t a trouble-free life of ease. He was shipwrecked, imprisoned, persecuted, and beaten, and yet he was full of thanks in all his circumstances.

So when Paul said “in everything give thanks,” he wasn’t speaking theoretically; he was speaking of something he actually experienced, even in the most awful of situations. His life shows us that giving genuine thanks to the Lord in the midst of trying conditions is possible. But how did he do it? And how can we do it? What was Paul’s secret?

Paul gives us the secret to a life of thanks in three little words in Ephesians 5:20:

“Giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father.”

The secret to giving thanks to God not only in good times but also at all times, not only for good things but also for all things is to give thanks “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Two notes from the Recovery Version can help us understand what it means to give thanks “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Note 2 on the verse above explains,

“The reality of the name of the Lord is His person. To be in the Lord’s name is to be in His person, in Himself. This implies that we should be one with the Lord in giving thanks to God.”

And note 1 on Colossians 3:17, a similar verse, says,

“The name denotes the person. The Lord’s person is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17). To do things in the name of the Lord is to act in the Spirit. This is to live Christ.”

Being able to give thanks in everything isn’t a matter of philosophy, discipline, or even a happy disposition. The secret to living a life of thanks is for us to live the person of thanks—Jesus Christ—who is now the Spirit in our spirit.

Jesus Christ lived a life of giving thanks in everything, and He now lives in us. In ourselves, we have no way to genuinely thank God for everything, including the distressing, troubling, and unpleasant things. In order to thank God for these things, for all things, we have to live by a new person, by Christ in us.

The thanking person of Jesus

In the Gospels, we see wonderful examples of Jesus giving thanks. We often see Him give thanks to the Father for the basic provision of food and for hearing His prayers.

But the Gospels also record how Jesus offered thanks and praise in even the most adverse situations. For instance, in Matthew 11 the Lord Jesus speaks of how He had been rejected repeatedly by cities He’d visited. In this rejection, Jesus suffered the slander of the very people He had come to save. But what was His response? Jesus didn’t complain, bemoan His terrible situation, or feel sorry for Himself. No. In verses 25-26, He instead prayed this prayer:

I extol You, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for thus it has been well-pleasing in Your sight.”

How wonderful Jesus is! Here we see Jesus actually extolling the Father, acknowledging His will in all things, including the rejection and slandering. He gave thanks to the Father in all situations and for all things.

We can give thanks in everything

Paul could give thanks in everything because he was one with this wonderful Jesus who was living in him and who lived a thanking life in all situations. And because Paul knew that all believers have Christ in them, he was confident in exhorting us to do the same. We too can give thanks in everything by being one with the Lord who lives in us, giving thanks in His name, in His person.

In ourselves, we may be unthankful, bemoan our situation, and complain to God and to everyone else. But as we contact the thankful One, the Lord Jesus Himself who lives in our spirit, we are joined to Him practically. We’re in Him, not in our old, complaining person. We then experience His person being our person, and His thanking life being our life. We live and act in the person of Christ in our spirit and enjoy His life in us. And spontaneously our prayers are filled with praise and thanks to Him for all things.

We love hearing from you, so please share your thoughts and experiences related to the post (blog commenting guidelines).

7 thoughts on “In Everything Give Thanks

  1. I have been doing a prison ministry for about fourteen years. Over the years, I tell the inmates when they start feeling sorry for themselves think about the homeless people sleeping under a bridge on a cold night or don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The inmates get three meals a day. They may not be the best in the world but at least they get them. Be thankful in what you have and praise God!

  2. “In the name”….is a secret that only Christians who have received Christ subjectively as the Spirit and life know. When I was young, I knew Christ in an objective way. I was raised in a Christian home but never was taught about this. It was only many years later when I travelled that the name of the Lord began to have a deeper meaning. Once I started to call upon his name I entered into a spiritual relationship with Christ. It happened especially when I called upon His name and received the anointing Spirit of Jesus Christ into my being subjectively.

    2 Corinthians 3:17 says that, “the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. All those who have been baptized, immersed into the name of the Lord have not only received the anointing Spirit, but the Lord Himself into their spirit, soul and body. I remember that once I was baptized as a baby by my parents I only know the story of Jesus human living and death from the many murals on the so called church buildings that I attended as a child. Christ only became real to me once I got older and wiser. When I came to Canada, I met some believers, true Christians from Japan who were students at the time and resided in the same hotel where I was living. When I met with them I knew they had been baptized into the reality of Christ, who now as the Spirit had comes into their lives. The joy upon their faces and expression were just not the same as the joy I perceived in my life. Outwardly I had an education, good job and whatever I wanted but not the joy of the Lord that was expressed in my friends. It was only a year later that I realized that there was more to the story about Jesus than the murals and portraits I has seen during my former years. It was no longer afterwards that I was shown how to call upon the name of the Lord and receive Him as the Spirit into my heart. Each time we call on His name and whenever or wherever we call someone that person will respond to us and come to us, but when we call on His name, He, the Lord comes into our being as the Spirit into our spirit and regenerates us with His Divine Life and nature.

    Romans 5:5 show us that hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. On the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, the people were all grown up, adults who were baptized, immersed into the reality of the Spirit. They did not practice water baptism as many today may take for granted.

    We all need to open up to Him and receive Him as the Spirit into our hearts so that we can enter into His kingdom. Today I Thank you Lord for coming into me and revealing yourself into me as the anointing Spirit. Keep revealing yourself to all who call upon your name and baptize, immerse them into the reality of the Spirit so that you can be their Lord, a living person to guide and shepherd their souls. Amen.

    Romans 10:13 says that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Simply calling on the name of the Lord Jesus… Lord Jesus… Lord Jesus saves us and keeps on sanctifying us once we have received Him subjectively within our being. The apostle Paul wrote in Corinthians, “To the church that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”. Here we can see after we have been saved, baptized, immersed into the reality of his name we, the believers, still should practice to call upon his name.

    Romans 10:8-13 says that, “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of Faith that you now hear, and that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved for with the heart a person believes resulting in righteousness and with the mouth we confess resulting in salvation. Furthermore in verse 11 the scripture says that” Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed for here is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him. For whomever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved”. What a mercy that I found the secret of that name, by simply calling, “OH Lord Jesus”, we can enter into a subjective relationship with Christ whenever we are or whoever we are! We do not have to be in a big cathedral or building to meet the Lord! Simply call on Him and receive the abundance of Grace to enjoy with Him with all those who call upon His name out from a pure heart.

    Thank You Lord for making yourself available to us and for saving us regardless of who we are and in what situation or circumstance we may find ourselves to be in. Lord Jesus, Thank you Lord Jesus, for being there whenever we call on you and you coming as the Lord into our heart and become the shepherd of our souls. 1 Peter 2:25 says that,” we were straying like sheep but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls”.

  3. Yes, I strongly agree in being thankful for all things & in all things. Doing so, in conjunction with prayer, praise & worship magnifies our Father & increases our walk with God exponentially.

  4. I love the examples of the Jesus offering thanks in various situations. Jesus could be and was thankful to the Father in all situations, good or bad. Today, as believers in Christ, we are joined to this thankful One and He lives in us. When we take Christ as our person, we can give thanks in everything!

  5. It’s not always easy to give thanks for the hardships… only possible to do so when our eyes are turned to see our God is God who is sitting on the throne and in His sovereignty, all the difficulties may be turned out to salvation. And, truly, even the turning is not something we can do as we will, but we do need others’ petitions and supports. Lord, I want to be a more grateful person who can view things happened around me from Your perspective, not just from my self-pitying angle. Thank You!

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