‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ (vv16–18) 1 Thessalonians 5:12–18

We shall be looking at giving thanks to God. Paul here, associates giving thanks with both prayer and the changing circumstances of our lives.

September is the start of autumn in Britain. We anticipate fierce storms. Heavy rains can saturate the soil, and strong winds bring down trees whose roots are weakened in sodden ground. Great, centuries-old oaks can be felled in a moment, ending life as horizontal skeletons stretched out across our landscape. Walking along woodland paths the morning after the great storm of 1987 meant clambering across felled lumber that resembled a woodland graveyard.

Such evidence reveals that it’s not how strong you appear but how deep your roots grow that determines stability and endurance. And this is true of our Christian lives. It is in giving thanks to God and through continuous prayer that we nourish our Christian roots, so that we remain rooted, even as we are battered and shaken.

We can expect the unexpected throughout our lives, for our enemy prowls around waiting to consume us (1 Pet. 5:8). But in such situations, like the prophet Habakkuk, we are to focus on God rather than our feelings or circumstances. God can give us a perspective that enables us to persevere through our struggles.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Hab. 1:1–4; 2:1; 3:17–19; Psa. 46; Jer. 17:7–9; Col. 2:6–12.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: What helps you to grow deeper roots in Christ? Where is there a danger that you might be uprooted by a fierce and unexpected storm?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, thank You that I am rooted in You and Your word. May I daily seek to become more firmly rooted in Your truth. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.