Being Thankful in a World Full of Chaos
February 21, 2021
Being Thankful in a World Full of Chaos
Right now, when chaos, division, and strife seem to be at their highest in our country, now is the time to focus our intellect on things we are thankful for, instead of focusing on all the negative that is going on.
I Thess. 5:18 ( AMPC)
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
Why is it that we always remember things that God wants us to forget and forget the things God wants us to remember?
Are we always thankful for everything in our lives and every situational curveball that life throws at us?
What about when the President that you wanted didn’t get into office?
You receive an unexpected doctor’s report.
Someone doesn’t treat you the way you thought you should be treated.
You don’t get the raise or promotion you thought you deserved, etc.
I’d be safe to say, for the majority of us, being thankful in those moments is probably not going to be at the top of your list in priority, naturally.
We have a hard time staying thankful in the moment. What I’ve learned recently is to enjoy and take in the sweet moments of life and journal them so I can look back on them.
“I wish there was a way that you know you’re in the good ol’ days, before you actually left them.” Andy Bernard – from the TV show The Office
Why do we tend to forget the good things in life and mostly remember the bad things?
Negative Bias: a psychological phenomenon in which people pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences or other kinds of information.
Psychologically, we aren’t naturally programmed to focus on things that we’re thankful for in life, which shows us that we have to make a conscious effort to stay in the mindset of being thankful.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Why did David the Psalmist say “may I never forget the good things he does for me”? Because he knew he had a negative bias issue.
“He forgives all my sins.” Just for that one act alone, that Jesus did for us on the cross, we should be eternally grateful. But He didn’t just stop there. He healed our diseases, He redeems us from death, tenderly loves us, and has mercy on us. He fills us with life and good things and renews our lives.
We must be proactive in remembering good things that happen to us. It’s never going to come naturally to us.
This is why so many people are on antidepressants, are in mental institutions, psychiatric wards, simply because they can’t focus on the good things in life. The negative overwhelms the positive.
Strive to stay thankful in everyday situations.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Why are so many of us only thankful for things in life only one time a year during Thanksgiving, or only when times are good?
We need to be in the mindset of being thankful on a daily basis, and in every circumstance, even when things don’t go our way.
James 1:2-3 (TPT)
My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.
Rom. 8:28 (TPT)
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
Staying in the mindset of thankfulness and being satisfied in what God has already given us will preserve us spiritually, financially, mentally, emotionally and physically.
What happens when I don’t stay thankful?
-Not staying in a state of being thankful for the material blessings that God has blessed you with today can lead to envy and spending more than what we have tomorrow, resulting in a mountain of insurmountable debt.
-Not staying in a state of being thankful for spiritual blessings today can lead you to drift away from God’s presence and relationship with Him tomorrow.
-Not staying in a state of being thankful for the physical blessings that God has given you today can lead to you hating your body, yourself, and living a life comparing yourself constantly to others tomorrow.
-Not staying in a state of being thankful can make a person’s eyes drift from the blessing of their spouse into lust and adultery.
-Not staying in a state of being thankful for the moments of mental clarity in life today can lead to deep depression and anxiety tomorrow.
Aharit: the Hebrew word that basically means seeing the end result at the beginning.
Living in a state of thankfulness and in God’s love means that I can walk confidently forward without fear because I know that whatever trials, discomfort, or tragedy lie ahead of me, He will always be with me.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
I Chronicles 28:20
Then David continued, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly’.
For some, focusing on all the bad things in life has always been “home.” They don’t know anything else. It’s time to find a new and improved home of thankfulness.
Also, people who always focus on the negative get more attention. They get attention when they air out their stuff on social media.
If we constantly focus on what we don’t have in life, something small will eventually turn into something big. Anxiety, depression, and fear will slowly creep in and gladly take over our lives.
Turn the saying, “making a mountain out of a molehill” upside down.
You can make that mountain into a molehill when focusing on the good things in life.
Gauge your spiritual walk.
Having a heart of thankfulness is directly correlated to spiritual growth.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Faith is seeing the best in people, even when you don’t see it. Faith is seeing a situation turning around for the better, when you don’t see it getting any better.
Joshua and Caleb having a good report:
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
As you can see, a negative report travels way faster than a good report. And negative news promotes crippling fear and spreads like a disease.
Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 10 But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle. 11 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?”
Do you see how the Israelites reacted? They wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb for having good news. Why? Because they bought into the first lie of the negative report. They already saw themselves as grasshoppers instead of the giants being “helpless prey” before them.
Also, God said “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they ever believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done for them?” (Negative Bias)
Are you a person who always sees the glass half empty rather than half full, and are you always complaining about everything and seeing the worst in every situation and everyone you see? Does the worst possible thing that could happen dominate your mind in every negative situation?
Or do you see the glass half full? Do you choose to hold your tongue when situations go south. Do you choose to see the best in people rather than the worst? Do you try to see the best possible outcome in every situation?
This is a good gauge of your spiritual walk with God.
Some will say that they are a “realist.”
The majority of the Bible deals with situations and people who were NOT in the mentality of being a “realist.” I would put them in a category of “dreamers.” Sometimes dreamers throw logic out the window.
-Logically, it didn’t make sense since that a teenage little boy would be chosen to slay a 9-ft giant. (I Sam 17)
-Logically, it didn’t make sense that an old man and his staff would lead to the Red Sea parting and millions of people crossing on dry ground. (Exodus 14)
-Logically, it didn’t make sense that someone would spit on the ground making mud and place it on someone’s eyes and their blindness be cured. (John 9)
God usually never moves in a realistic way, it’s always supernatural. It’s always in a way that can’t be physically and logically explained. That’s God’s specialty!
Be thankful in good times and in bad times.
Numbers 10:9-10 (NL)T
When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies. Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the Lord your God.
A life of complaining will eventually lead to bitterness, envy, and then unforgiveness, then finally hatred sets in.
God says in his Word that He inhabits the praises of his people….not complaining of His people, not bitterness of His people. Praises!!!
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Can God inhabit your life on a daily basis with what you talk about?
The nation of Israel complained for 40 years and you see where it got them…nowhere.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the good things in life.
- Start a Praise Jar at your home. At the end of the year, pour out all the good things God has done for you and read them aloud with your family.
- Take Communion regularly:
I Cor. 11:23-24
For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”