Following Christ: a how-to-guide on gratitude

Giving thanks to God at all times for all things? Isn’t that expecting a bit much? “It’s unrealistic,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider says, and goes on to explain what exactly is meant. Thoughts from a divine service.

“… giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Chief Apostle used this Bible text from Ephesians 5: 20 as basis for his divine service in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) on 1 October 2017. “God does not expect us to sing a sincere and joyful hallelujah all the time,” he said. “No, we should give thanks in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Let us first give thanks for the salvation of Jesus Christ, which embraces all at all times:

  • in the past:“He has given His life for us out of love. When you suffer, remember that Jesus suffered too. So even in difficult situations we can thank Jesus for His love.”
  • in the present: “He forgives us our sins. No matter what we have done, we can always come back to Jesus.”
  • in the future: “He wants us to be with Him where He is and to share the glory the Father has given Him. This glory will be so great that we will not even remember our suffering on earth.”

To give thanks in the name of Jesus Christ at all times means to follow Him in word and deed:

  • in humility and faith: “We are so thankful that our salvation depends only on humility and faith and not on wisdom and wealth,” the Chief Apostle said. Not all of us have a great intellect or are very knowledgeable, he continued, but we can all be humble and believe.
  • in prayer: “We are so grateful that the Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and that we have the guarantee that, if we ask for the same things that Jesus would ask for us, we will get them.”
  • in forgiveness: “We are thankful for the grace that Jesus grants us and are happy that every sinner receives the same. We are happy when the sinners are accepted by God.”
  • in trust: “We are thankful that no one, no spirit, and no circumstances can force us to ever doubt Jesus Christ. As long as I want to stay with Jesus, no power can force me to walk away from Him.”
  • in perseverance: “Jesus has called us to serve Him. Let us fulfill this mission until the end, because all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

In this way we can show God our gratitude always and for all things, the Chief Apostle said. “We are grateful because God loves us. We are grateful because we are so blessed, and God responds to our gratitude by granting us still more blessing.”

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