I was talking with a young Christian man recently. He was discontented. I’ve found that when I am down or discontent it helps me to praise God and give Him thanks, so I quoted the following verses to him:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Since he was not in a good state of mind…..yet…..I didn’t suggest he give thanks for the bad things happening in his life…………… ………yet.
I just asked him what he thought about that passage in the Bible.
His response was, “What do I have to give God thanks for?”
Sometimes, when we focus on the things that aren’t great in our lives all we can see are those. We lose sight of the big picture.
I decided to try to help him see the big picture by ZOOMING IN to the minuscule things.
I said, “Did you know that the Bible says that Jesus speaks a word and every, single thing in the universe stays together?”
I had this verse in mind:
“Who (Jesus) being the brightness of His (the Father’s) glory and the express image of His (the Father’s) person, and UPHOLDING ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:3)
The term “upholding all things” literally means “maintaining everything that exists”.
This is very similar to what Paul says about our Lord Jesus in Colossians 1:17:
“And He is before (pre-existed and is superior to) all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:17)
The Greek word translated into “consist” in that verse is the one from which we get the English “sustain.” The New American Standard Bible said that “in Him all things hold together.”
Let’s ponder that for a little while.
Jesus actively chooses millisecond by millisecond to cause EVERYTHING to exist.
I asked my young friend to think about that. I asked him to think about everything that mattered to him.
Then I said, “The very atoms and molecules that make up those things are held together by one action that Jesus chooses to take.”
What is that action?
He does it “by the word of His power...” (Hebrews 1:3)
The Greek word translated as “word” in that verse is “rhema”; its means a “freshly spoken utterance.”
In other words, everything we cherish remains in existence because Jesus says so.
I then pointed out to my friend that even the molecules of his very body, which temporarily house his soul and human spirit, are held together moment by moment by the utterance of the power (dunamis – supernatural ability power) Jesus wields.
That sounds like something for which to be thankful to God.
You know….the cares of this world often draw our focus off Jesus, the Creator, Sustainer and Finisher of all things (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Jesus warned us about this:
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares (distractions) of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke (strangle) the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
It can happen to us all. I know it has happened to me at times.
I encouraged my young friend….and myself…and, now you, to practice the discipline of meditating on the Lord and giving Him the thanks due to Him for all He does to us. And, yes, let’s thank Him for everything – even the bad things because “it is the will of God in Christ Jesus” for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
This is why I love the passage with which I will close this article:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO (considering intently) Jesus, the author (Creator) and finisher (Completer) of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For CONSIDER (focus intently upon) Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
It is VERY hard to remain distracted and discontented when our focus is on the only One who gave everything so that we might have everlasting life.
Join me in committing to spend a lot more time focusing on Jesus and the power of His word and less and less time on what isn’t quite perfect in our lives at this time.
This is temporary…..life with Christ is FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. Amen.