Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for. In Philippians 4, we will see six things that we should be thankful for every single day regardless of our circumstances.
From the beginning of the chapter we see that Paul is thankful for the people in his life. He was thankful for those who stood firm (v. 1) and for those who worked with him for the sake of the gospel (v. 3). He loved his friends. If you see a turtle on a fence post, it did not get there by itself. Thank God for the people who have helped you get where you are today. Be grateful for the people in your life, even the difficult ones. If people are robbing you of your joy, try thanksgiving!
In verse 4, Paul tells us to rejoice. In verse 5 he says, “The Lord is near.” God inhabits the praises of His people. In the military you re-up. In thanksgiving we have to rejoice again, give praise again – weekly, daily, and sometimes even hourly! Not just when we get good news or in the good times. Paul says to rejoice always. In verse 8 he tells us to think on things that are praiseworthy. Praise helps us get our thinking right. Is it true, honest, pure, lovely, of good report? No one talks to you more than you do! What are you saying? Try thanksgiving! “Normal” for the Christian should be thankful all the time.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (v. 6). Turn your cares into prayers! Cast all your care upon Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Pray about everything! God is approachable. We can be thankful for that and come boldly before the throne of grace and find help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Prayer is not a last resort. Before you start your day, go into that meeting, make that call, send that email, or make that decision, pray. Prayer helps us surrender to God. It says, “Not my will, but yours.”
We can also be thankful for the peace that God gives (v. 7). Worry means to pull apart. You do not have to fall apart. God will guard your emotions. “When you find a Bible falling apart it probably belongs to someone who is not.” Worry will rob you of your joy! It borrows from the future. Jesus said you can’t add one hour to your life by worrying. In verse 9, Paul says we have to put these things into practice. Putting them into practice is how you know you’ve learned something. Thanksgiving is a choice. Let’s put it into practice!
We’ve all heard verse 13 before. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” Think about those words. When you say, “I can’t forgive, quit smoking, stop looking at porn, break off that affair, stop that addiction,” you are calling Jesus a liar. My Lord is no failure! You can have daily devotions, be a good husband and father, have a good marriage, etc. We can change lives, communities, and the world for Jesus Christ! Thank God for His power!
You will never have a need that Jesus cannot meet (v. 19). The things of this world cannot make you happy. When you have Jesus, you have everything you need within you to be thankful and joyful! You may say, “You don’t know what I am going through.” No, but I dare to say on your worst day you have not gone through what Paul went through (v. 12, 2 Cor. 11:24-28). In it all, he says, “And we know all things are working together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28), “We are more than conquerors through Christ” (Rom. 8:31), and what we’ve just read in Philippians 4. This is a prison epistle. What is your prison? Your bondage? We first read about Philippians in Acts 16. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison. At midnight they are praying and singing and giving thanks. Why? That they were counted worthy to suffer for His name. The Lord is near.
Where do you hurt? What are you worried about? May God help us to worry about nothing and pray about everything! God knows what is going on in your life. He knows what you need. We can be thankful!