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What Does It Mean to Have Radical Gratitude?
By Rick Warren

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

The more deeply you understand God’s love, the more grateful you will become. 

In fact, the Bible says that gratitude should saturate your life: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

Notice that the Bible says to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. There is a big difference! 

You don’t have to be thankful for the bad things that happen in your life. Not everything that happens in the world is God’s will. In fact, most of the time, God’s will is not done here on Earth; instead, people’s will is done. 

There’s a lot of evil in the world, and you don’t need to thank God for that. But you can thank God in the midst of it.

In my own life, I’ve learned that I can thank God in every circumstance. Here are some reasons why:

  • God is in control.
  • God can bring good out of evil. 
  • God can turn even my mistakes into something that works out well; he can bring good out of them. 
  • I won't live on Earth forever; I'm going to heaven one day."
  • I can’t lose my salvation. 
  • No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving me. 

The truth is that I could think of a hundred reasons to be thankful in any circumstance, even circumstances that seem horrible.

Look again at 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV). It says you should give thanks to God “in all circumstances.” The Greek word used is the word pos, which means any, all, everything, anyone, all the time, anywhere, everywhere, the whole thing. It means no exception, no excuses, no exemptions.

That seems pretty radical, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s radical gratitude.

It doesn’t take any effort to be grateful for the nice present someone just gave you. Anyone can do that. But being grateful in all circumstances takes radical gratitude.

People say they want to know God’s will. They want to know what God wants them to do with their lives. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, God makes that very clear: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

Giving thanks in all situations is God’s will for you. And the more thankful you are, the closer you’ll get to God!

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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