Don't you love those commands we are given in the Bible that are so absolute? My humanity usually responds internally with something like, "Who can do this all the time?" Or "This seems so impossible!". Take for instance the imperative the Apostle Paul presents to us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." A couple of observations here. One, this is an all inclusive imperative--in all circumstances. That means there is no moment of my life that can be exempted from gratitude. Two, this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus--which points to something we cannot do on our own or through other means but Jesus himself.
So yesterday I was reading this verse and was curious about the context. To my surprise, I saw a connection, for first time ever in my life, with verse 23-24. Let's say God is giving me more reasons to understand the basis for thanking Him in all circumstances. Here it is: because God is always working toward my "complete sanctification", everything becomes a tool or avenue for Him to accomplish that in me. So the basis for thanksgiving is that, in this moment, in this circumstance I am in, God is working toward my transformation. This transformation, or sanctification, involves my spirit, my soul and my body. It gets even better. Paul affirms that the one who calls us, God, is the one who is committed and is able to fulfill the promise of our transformation and presentation of a blameless life on the day when Jesus is revealed again.
So my gratitude in this moment could sound something like this:
"I thank you God because in Christ Jesus I am the direct beneficiary of your work in my life,
Thank you that your work at this moment involves my transformation,
I receive the molding you are doing in my spirit, my soul and my body,
And I renew my trust in you and your promise that you will accomplish your good purposes in me
Until that day when you will present me blameless at the revelation of my Savior."