One of the major fundamental truths of Christianity is that Jesus Christ took our place on the cross. Jesus on the cross is where we should be. We are the ones guilty of sin and rebellion against God. We deserve the cross…not Jesus the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for our sins.
This basic starting point should inform how we view…as Spirit-born Christians…challenges, suffering, difficulties, and tribulations in our lives. If we view ourselves as being given a pass on being crucified for our sins…but instead being let-off by the grace of God through faith…then by a fairness comparison to the judgment and condemnation we rightly deserve but are being pardoned from…Jesus then has the right to ask us to follow Him anywhere…even through hardship like He endured (Phil. 3:10)…if this is part of His plan for our spiritual growth and the salvation of others through the tenor, tone, and genuineness of our testimony about what God has done for us.
If we see ourselves being pardoned from the cross…moments before the Roman soldiers are about to pin our feet and our arms to a wood beam cross using metal spikes…being let go to be free to live our lives from that moment forward…then losses, and tragedies, and heartbreaks in our lives…can be seen…contrary to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…in the totally liberating, biblical view of: “in everything give thanks” (1 Thes. 5:18). Not “for” everything, but “in” everything…give thanks.
Certainly Paul’s God-composed life-script can certainly be said to rise above worldly conventional normalcy and thinking. Paul’s calling and ministry was elevated on the vertical graph-line spectrum of goodness and light…far above the region of worldly conventional normalcy Paul would have enjoyed as a respected Pharisee and scholar in Jerusalem.
Paul understood clearly that Jesus Christ took his place on the cross on that fateful Passover day only a few years before his conversion on the road to Damascus. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks” because he recognized…maybe more than anyone else at that time other than Peter and James…the great debt he owed Jesus Christ for paying Paul’s sin-penalty on the cross.
Everything in an elevated journey of faith following Jesus Christ…follows from Proverbs 3:5-6…”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
No matter how difficult or challenging…”in everything give thanks.”