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How exactly are we supposed to give thanks in all circumstances? It begins with a tank full of thankful!

Thanksgiving is more than just a holiday. It’s the mindset God calls us to have. In fact, he commands it! In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we’re called to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God commands us to give thanks!

But how do we do that? How do we obey a command that goes beyond the circumstances we might find ourselves in? I believe God’s call to give thanks calls us to look beyond ourselves and into his purpose for our lives. In viewing it that way, thanksgiving is less about the moment (or the holiday) and more about the way we prepare ourselves for whatever circumstances might come at us.

Keep Your Tank Full

Gas pump

The only car advice my father ever gave me (actually, more likely the only advice that sank in) was that it doesn’t cost any more to keep your tank on full than it does on empty. When I first started driving I was always running the tank dry. Every new adventure began with the nagging question of whether or not I could get there or back home. Dad’s advice impacted me in ways that continue to this day. If your tank is full you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get to your destination–you just go!

I think thankfulness can be like that. When we start with a tank full of thankful, we can have the confidence to get through whatever journey we find ourselves on. Giving thanks today prepares you for where God is taking you next.

Give Thanks to the Lord

Our first stop in this journey of thanksgiving is the very brief but impactful twelfth chapter of Isaiah. After eleven chapters of warnings and challenges, and a few brief glimpses of hope, Isaiah breaks into a song of thanksgiving. It’s a song that looks beyond the present troubles into the hope before God’s people. “You will say in that day,” Isaiah promises, “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away,   that you might comfort me” (Isaiah 12:1)