Boys playing in a pile of leaves

Whatever State You are In Today

Whatever State You are In Today

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  Philippians 4:11 NKJV

So what state did you wake up in? Red, blue, maybe a little purple? 

Sometimes I wonder why the Apostle Paul had to go and be such a cheerful-earful in his every state.So what state did you wake up in? Red, blue, maybe a little purple? Share on X

He suffered persecution, shipwreck, sleepless nights, need and oh yes, prison. Still, thankfulness threaded through all those states. 

I mean, really, can thankfulness be commanded? 

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18 (NASB)

Well, yes, apparently it can. 

Paul’s incessant thanksgiving repeats itself about 40 times in his writings. He drills it over and over again. “Be thankful.”

Purposeful thanksgiving has less to do with how I feel, more to do with what I believe. 

But what if I’m not feeling thankful? What if my heart is sad? How can I be grateful when life is unjust, when my work is unrewarded, when bad things happen? 

Joy, the kind Paul speaks of is more than a sentiment. It did not hinge on circumstance for Paul, nor should it for us. 

“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself,” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1: 8 ESV. He acknowledges life was not rosy. He felt sorrow and sadness, yet despite all of it, he learned an inner contentment. His thanksgiving grew by choosing to rejoice in the One to whom all praise continually belongs. 

Purposeful thanksgiving has less to do with my circumstances, more to do with Whom I trust. 

Thankfulness is birthed from faith in a Sovereign God who knows exactly what He is doing and always acts from a character that is good, wise and holy. Trust believes beyond sight to the One Who sees all, and does what if right. Always and in every situation. 

Purposeful thanksgiving reveals a perspective rooted in obedience to the Word.  

In fact, according to Paul, not being thankful signaled a decline into unbelief. 

“…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21 NKJV 

In 2 Timothy 3:2, Paul lists “unthankfulness” along with proud, blasphemers, unholy and unloving plus a bunch of other rotten behaviors, as one of the characteristics of those living in the last days. 

The Israelites in the wilderness are a convicting example of thank-less-ness. Like a yo-yo they bounced from exultation and praise to grumbling and complaining. They experienced extraordinary miracles of God. Yet, it was never enough to satisfy. They complained and in their dissatisfaction, they did not believe God to be enough. 

Oh how I dislike seeing myself in them.

I have my own rise and fall of gratitude and complaining. I too get on a cycle of grumpy dissatisfaction. 

As we enter November, the season of giving thanks, I’m glad there is an official day coming to pause and think of things for which to be grateful. To be perfectly honest, I could use Thanksgiving Day a few more times per year. I need a reminder to be grateful in every state I’m in. 

So what do we do when Thanksgiving has fled our state? Move from the state of “what” or “why” to Who. 

  • Replace focus. 
  • Purpose to center gratitude on Jesus. 
  • Look to His character and Sovereignty. 
  • Give thanks.     

Want a week’s worth of thanksgiving reminders leading to Thanksgiving Day?

Here are seven past posts to inspire gratitude during this season:

    No Thank You

 How to Kill a Thankful Heart

 It is Good to Give Thanks

 Sfoons, forks and miracles

 My Life Has Not Turned Out the Way I Expected

 I Fell in Love with American Thanksgiving While Living In Another Country

 Thanksgiving Transforms Hearts

14 Replies

  1. Lois Snyder Reply

    It is great to remember to be thankful all year! I have found a thanksgiving journal to be a great help in this, also the book Other Half of Church: Christian Community, Brain Science and Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation. It has a 30 Day Joy Challenge that is great! Another book by the same author (plus others) is Joy Starts Here, which I hear from my daughter is really good. Stir up deliberate appreciation!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I like to keep a running list throughout November of things I’m thankful for. It is always astounding at how many things are right in front of me that I don’t see! Thank you Lois.

  2. linda k williamson Reply

    There is joy beauty and good in each and everyday even in the mundane ! Some days we just have to search a little harder and keep our eyes open Gratitude!!!

  3. sylvia schroeder Reply

    Thanks Linda. I love your attitude. There is joy and good in every day. Sometimes I need to search a bit harder! Love your input!

  4. Barbara Latta Reply

    I’m glad our country has a season focused on gratitude, but yes, we should be thankful every day. Paul is a great example to us of honoring God with praise no matter the situation. God is always enough.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      You are so right. It should be part of our spiritual inhale and exhale. I find when I am intentional about thankfulness, I enjoy everything so much more. Thanks Barbara!

  5. Yvonne Morgan Reply

    We do have so many things to be thankful for every day. I hope your thanksgiving is full of blessings

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Yvonne. I hope your Thanksgiving is full of blessings as well!

  6. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I’m guilty of “thank-less-ness” upon occasion, too, Sylvia. I’m trying to do better! Your message is so appropriate for the season and all year long. Thank you for inspiring us. Wishing you a blessed and thankful season and a Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Katherine! It is a continual learning curve for me! Same to you. Have a thankful season and may your Thanksgiving Day be full of thanks!

  7. Annie Yorty Reply

    God commands thanksgiving because the consequences of not giving thanks are awful. He loves us too much to not warn us. Thanks for your post, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Annie. Your comment is insightful and reminds me of the patience of the Lord even when we fail to be thankful.

  8. Nancy E. Head Reply

    The elections didn’t go the way we’d hoped in my stated, but I’m glad I have Thanksgiving coming to remind me of all the blessings we have right here. God is good all the time. Thanks, Sylvia. Great post. God bless!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Nancy. I get it. Political disappointment invades my whole person it seems. But, I have also been reminding myself that sometimes what seems a defeat is really God’s gain for a purpose. I’m so glad He knows what He is doing! Thanks Nancy.