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Session 9

How to be thankful in everything

Read: Ephesians 5

“Thanksgiving is not a day; it’s a lifestyle.”

Maybe you’ve heard that phrase or seen it on a church billboard. Learning to be thankful every day is not a new concept. It’s an idea Jesus taught and a principle that Paul, the writer of Ephesians, tried to teach Christians in Ephesus almost 2,000 years ago.

Paul was a Christian missionary who was imprisoned for his faith. Yet in Ephesians 5:20, Paul encouraged the church to give thanks to God for all things. How could Paul, of all people, be thankful in every circumstance?

The answer is the Holy Spirit. When we ask Jesus into our lives, we receive the Holy Spirit to be our helper and our guide. And in the same breath that Paul encourages us to be thankful in all things, he says to fill up on the Holy Spirit instead of turning to wine, or whatever else used to bring us joy, because the Holy Spirit is far more valuable (Ephesians 5:18).

The Holy Spirit in us is what allows us to be thankful even when things aren’t going right, to have peace when life feels chaotic, and to have hope when all seems hopeless. When we can’t think of anything to be thankful for, the Holy Spirit reminds us that we can be thankful for Jesus – for the forgiveness of sins, for a relationship with God, and for the promise of eternal life.

Many days, thankfulness does not come easily. Right now, most of us could rattle off a list of the things wrong with ourselves and our lives. No matter how bad life seems, we have the ability to be thankful. We don’t have to thank God for our problems, but we can thank Him for the strength He’s building in us through them.  


  • Think about all the conversations you had yesterday. Were your conversations marked by complaints or by gratitude?
  • Do you believe it’s really possible to be thankful in all circumstances? Why or why not?
  • What’s one thing you can thank Jesus for today?

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