Christians regularly do not have genuine trust and neither are we truly thankful. We fail to realize and so easily forget who God is and who we are in Christ. When we do understand the person and nature of God and our identity as a child of God then we should be trusting completely and thankful always.
I have been praying lately that God would give me a deeper and greater trust in Him and the ability to honestly be thankful. Even after thirty years as a Christian this is a real struggle. It is so frustrating to me, and downright sinfully disrespectful to God, that I/we so utterly fail in these areas. When we sincerely contemplate and meditate on the character of our God and Father and our redeemed status before Him (by His grace), then our only response has to be total trust and thanksgiving.
Giving Thanks in Times of Hardship
It seems we really only have an issue with trust and thanksgiving when we are going through a period of trial and suffering, yet this is when it maters most. The way we trust and give thanks in a time of hardship shows the maturity and depth of our relationship with the Lord. When Paul was struggling with his “thorn in the flesh” it was God who explained to him that His grace was sufficient (1 Cor. 12:9). The believer has been blessed “in Christ” with “every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3). It seems like Christians are apt to ask for something additional to get them through the tough times when all the while they have everything they need to endure in whatever circumstance they find themselves. It is not a matter of getting something more but rather an issue of recognizing and living in accordance with who we already are and what we already have.
We already have what is needed for victory in our Christian pilgrimage. God has “granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him” (2 Pet. 1:3). Because of who God is and who we are in Christ we can surely “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Leaning on one’s own understanding is the reason we do not trust in God with all our hearts. We let ourselves and our own feelings and rational get in the way of accepting and submitting to God’s perfect Person and plan for us. The Scripture commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18), and when we have a right view of God and our position as adopted children in Christ, then it is completely irrational and unethical to do otherwise.
Do Not be Anxious About Anything
We are “not to be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6) because we have the power to pray with trust and thanksgiving as we petition God. We do not have to be anxious or worried because God is in control and He loves us. Paul wrote “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). God has supplied “every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
We can truly live in trust and thanksgiving. When we do so we are obeying and glorifying God. All of the worry, anxiety, lack of trust, and ungratefulness shows immaturity and is, simply put, sin. It is sin against our loving Heavenly Father because He sovereignly controls all things for His purpose and our progressive sanctification. Christ alone is sufficient and thus we can always trust and be thankful. As we honor God through genuine trust and thanksgiving we will certainly have peace and contentment in the midst of a sometimes difficult earthly existence (cf. Phil. 4:10-12). We can as Paul said “do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).