“18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving is upon us! That wonderful time of the year where we gather around with loved ones and absolutely destroy a plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, cranberry sauce, and whatever else you choose to transport to your stomach through your pie hole. A time where we gather with those whom maybe we haven’t seen in some time. A time to reflect and be thankful.

I bet at this point you are probably thinking to yourself, “How cliche, a Thanksgiving blog post right before Thanksgiving.” But I challenge you to not think in that way. You might be spoken to in a way that you did not expect.

I know that as the years pass, it is easy to go through the motions and do things just for the sake of doing them, without remembering why it is we do them in the first place. Now a days Thanksgiving is used as the pregame before Black Friday where instead of being thankful for what we have, we seek to fill our lives with more things that maybe we don’t really need. And I also know that due to the fact that we live in a fallen world, it is sometimes not easy to be thankful. With all that is going on in the world, it is sometimes hard to see what we have to be thankful for. And the Devil would like nothing more than for us to sit and stew in unthankfulness where we are focused only on ourselves. But it is in those moments that we must be persistent in choosing thankfulness and remember all that God has done for us.

For this post I am going to be straight up honest with y’all, this past week I didn’t feel like being thankful. I didn’t feel like rejoicing. There were even some moments where I didn’t feel like praying. All I wanted to do was lay in bed so as to try and avoid the attacks of anxiety, depression, fear, and doubt. My mind just wanted me to focus on the negative. The temptation to listen to the voice of doubt was strong. As the saying goes “The struggle was real.”

But God, ever so kind and patient, used His Spirit to shift my focus beyond what my eyes could see, and beyond what my flesh was trying to lead me to believe. He reminded me of all that He has seen me through. He reminded me of all that He has done in me and in my life. And then my mind became at peace, as I remembered that He is good and is with me and is guiding me. Suddenly I have a lot that I am thankful for as I look around and see God’s love and faithfulness.

Thankfulness should be the lifestyle of believers. Especially in the times when it is hard to be thankful. God doesn’t want us to be bitter and unthankful. His will and desire for us to be full of rejoicing and thankfulness. That is why He goes about doing all that He does, so that you may have the fullness of life in Him.

And I am going to tell you that it is okay if sometimes you feel like it is hard to be thankful, because sometimes it is. But it is the choice that we make in that feeling that is important. The choice to sit and stew in bitterness and doubt, or the choice to trust in God and remember all that He has done with praise and thanksgiving.

After living in both, I can tell you that I prefer the latter. I choose to be thankful for all that He has done in my life, and rejoice in the Hope of what He has promised. I can promise you that you won’t regret it if you choose to do the same.

So my challenge to you this week is this:

If you find yourself in a season where thankfulness seems scarce and doubt is creeping in, sit and focus on all that God has done for you. Get in His word and let His promises fill your heart(The Psalms are a great place to start looking at what it looks like to live a lifestyle of thankfulness even in hard times.) Turn on some praise and worship music and let God’s Spirit speak to your heart.

May you be filled with thankfulness and rejoicing in the Hope and Life that we have in God through Jesus Christ!

Noah Barfield

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