“Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor Me, and to the blameless I will show My salvation.” Psalm 50:23 (NIV)
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 (NIV)
When we choose to thank and praise God, especially while enduring a difficult trial, we are offering up a true sacrifice of love to our Creator. This conscious effort of worship comes only through faith. Our thank offerings honor Him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are encouraged to, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for (us/you) in Christ Jesus.”
So do we really need to thank Him for an illness or loss? No, not exactly. However, I do suggest that we thank God for the lessons and wisdom that will inevitably come out of a tragic event or painful hardship. The focus of thanks should not be on the painful trial, but on the honor of being pruned and instructed by our God who permits the trial. During the pruning process, Fruits of the Spirit will mature, as we trust in God’s faithfulness and love. With the maturing of our spiritual fruit, we can then better serve the Body of Christ by administering more goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness, and self-control.
Trials are sent our way, or permitted, by a loving and compassionate Father. It is wisdom and spiritual maturity that enables a Christian to perceive a new trial as a gift. This does not mean the believer is thrilled with the idea of new heartache and sorrow. Rather, the servant of God understands that God prunes His vines so that they can bear more fruit. They understand it is an honor to suffer in His name and for His glory.
If Christians could learn to view struggles as opportunities that deepen their dependence on Christ, and mature their relationship with Him, they might have an easier time accepting tribulations. These circumstances, designed by God, are not meant to break us. Instead, they are meant to mold and mature us all.
God never said we would live a pain free life. He did however promise to be our strength and provide for every one of our needs. Let us be grateful for God’s promise to see us through every trial. Can we all thank Him for not letting us stagnate and remain as children requiring milk?
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16-17 (NIV)
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