Have you ever encountered a meal that was so satisfying you’d want to eat it every day? I imagine you are now thinking of some of your favorites. Right now, after I’ve done some exercise, I can really go for a chef-style salad with some tomatoes and avocados, and I can easily admit that that is one of the things I’d be willing to eat each and every day. Or a burrito! There’s never a bad day for a burrito, is there? During fall season, many folks are thinking of warm comfort foods like turkey, mashed potatoes and other delicious Thanksgiving holiday favorites. One of my go-to, quick and inexpensive, yet very satisfying meals—as glamorous as it may seem—is a can of sardines eaten over the kitchen sink, in true bachelorette style. I know it may not be everybody’s choice, but it is certainly satisfying and nourishing! (I sometimes wonder if there is any connection between such glamorous feeding habits and why I am still a bachelorette, but I suppose that discussion is for another occasion.)
Nonetheless, on any budget, I need daily sustenance. In fact, I really enjoy food each and every day. The point is that no matter what, I never, ever, no matter what day it is, grow tired of enjoying nourishing food.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Matthew 4:4
When it comes to the Word of God being our nourishment, there are countless ways in which we are fed, including reading the Word, listening to others read/teach the Word, or listening to worshipful music and singing along with our hearts (and sometimes really loud voices, especially in the car).
Just for a moment, consider that this page you are reading contained, in its draft form, about 400 words comprised of between 1 and about 12 letters each. Each letter is a tiny little specific scribble (one of 26 specific scribbles, if you are reading English). So that’s well over 2500 scribbles per page that your eyes within a few minutes can scan and transfer to your brain, which then assimilates meaning. Once we have comprehension of meaning, then our hearts become involved. Think about the fact that we are designed by God to look at a page (or scroll) or listen with our ears to His truth, and be fed spiritually! It is truly amazing!
There exists one of these amazing verses that I find myself drawing nourishment from every day. Yes, it is no exaggeration when I say each and every single day.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
These things—rejoicing always, praying continually, and being thankful in everything—are God’s will for us. This is breakfast food! This is our everyday sustenance. God gives us a blueprint for our day.
Take a closer look at each item on this glorious three item TO-DO list.
That Jesus Christ has done the work to set us free and redeem all of creation. This is absolutely something to rejoice over every single day! That God, in His great love for us, had this incredible plan despite the Fall truly never gets old. We celebrate the truth that God loves us immeasurably and nothing can ever separate us from His love, as we are told in very descriptive language in Romans 8:38-39. We can absolutely rejoice in the fact that God loves us, knows us, and has made us citizens of His Kingdom. He is our Father in the best possible sense of the word. He holds us more dearly than we can imagine. When we chew on these truths every day, we are indeed nourished.
Our connection to God is in our conversation with Him. He has been offering Himself in relationship to us since He fashioned us in the womb, and even long before. Since the time we’ve been able to have understanding, we’ve had the choice to be in relationship with Him. By praying continually, we give our time and attention to acknowledging Him, thanking Him, talking to Him, crying out to Him, listening to Him, making requests of Him, trusting Him, yielding to Him, and agreeing with Him. Through this pathway of relationship, we are given great favor.
Give thanks in all circumstances…
For one thing, I am really, really thankful that it does not say “give thanks FOR all circumstances”! It says “give thanks IN all circumstances”. This is incredibly good news and it is a very important distinction! Not all circumstances are good, but God is. God is Good! He is God, He has saved us, and He has made a way for us. Very importantly, in the end, He will bring justice, vindication, peace, comfort, retribution, and ultimate wisdom and answers. He will even raise us from the dead and lavish us with His great love for the rest of eternity. Whatever went wrong in this life, He will make up for it. Knowing this allows us to forgive others as we have been forgiven and keep perspective of the fact that God will make things right that others cannot. This helps us weather the storms of life as graciously as possible, and then others might be able to see God’s grace and provision through our position of thankfulness.
Rejoicing, praying, and being thankful are the key ingredients for the recipe of putting ourselves in position for God’s power to impact our lives. By ingesting these instructions, we absorb the nutrients He has for us. We then grow in strength and are increasingly ready and receptive to His leading, blessing, and favor as powerful members of His Kingdom.