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Being Thankful For One Another

by Gil Rugh

We live in a world beset with problems, and we often fail to experience the joy that God intends for us as believers. One reason for that lack of joy is our failure to practice thankfulness, specifically thankfulness for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

From prison, the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the small city of Philippi, saying, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Phil. 1:3), and he exhorted them to “join in following my example” (3:17). Paul wanted these believers to follow his example of giving thanks for fellow believers.

As we examine ourselves we must ask: Have I taken time recently to be thankful for other believers? How much time have I spent rejoicing and praising God for the Christians with whom I am privileged to serve? When we pray for other believers, we often spend much of our time asking God to change things about them. It is easy to take one another for granted and focus our attention on the shortcomings and flaws we see in our fellow believers, but this is sin and must be stopped.

If we compared the amount of time we spend thinking critically with the time we spend being thankful, would we be embarrassed?

It is easy to look at others and pick them apart, but God does not want us to be mired down in criticism by focusing on the things we don’t like about others.

Instead, He desires for thankfulness to characterize our lives. Paul recognized the bond he had with God and with other believers. He was thankful for them and appreciated the work God had done in their lives. This helped stir his love for them. This holds true in our lives as well. It is a lot harder to dislike someone when we spend time thanking God for them.

May we “join in following Paul’s example” and give thanks to God for one another. Our obedience will bring glory to God and our wellspring of joy will be deep and wide.