“In everything … with thanksgiving tell God every detail of your needs … And the peace of God which transcends human understanding will stand guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)
As I have tried to apply what Paul prescribes in these verses (in the NIV and J.B. Phillips), I have found this prescription for peace to be more helpful than any other spiritual discipline. According to Paul, an attitude of gratitude leads to the therapy of thanksgiving as we apply thanksgiving to our stressful circumstances.
Be sure to make the observation that Paul does not prescribe giving thanks for all things. He instructs us to give thanks in all things. When we do this it automatically moves our mindset from the negative to the positive. The apostle promises that the peace of God will protect and stand guard (like the soldiers chained to Paul as he writes these words), over our hearts and minds as they rest and trust in Christ Jesus.
Our circumstances are not always determined by God but may be caused by evil people who are persecuting us. We cannot always control our circumstances – but we can control the way we respond to them. Paul is telling us to respond with thanksgiving, because if we do, we will find this response to be God’s prescription that will bring peace that can contribute to our victory over those circumstances.
When a pastor asked one of his members how they were doing, their response was “Pretty good pastor, under the circumstances.” The pastor responded “Whatever are you doing under there?”
The therapy of thanksgiving can lead us out from under our circumstances and into the peace of God.
Dick Woodward, 02 September 2009