Philippians 4:6 (NLT) Never worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and thank Him for all He has done.
In this verse Paul is showing you how to reduce daily stress in your life – he says eliminate worry and start praying. That is going to deal with maybe 90% of all your daily stress. But he reveals a third way to reducing stress – thanking God.
It says to thank Him ‘for all things He has done.’ Note it doesn’t say “for all things” but “all things He has done.” God is not the cause of all things, even natural disasters which the weather forecasters call “acts of God.” The Bible says God is the author of all the ‘good things’ in your life (James 1:17).
Other translations say ‘thank Him in all things.’ That’s a more accurate translation, and it recognizes that bad things do happen in this corrupted, fallen world and ungodly people may even do or bring trouble into your life. Even the Apostle Paul experienced much trouble and persecution yet he carried a joyful, thankful spirit on a daily basis.
The key to thankfulness, the ‘attitude of gratitude,’ is your choice.
You choose to go to gratitude; you don’t wait until your feelings take you there. If you wait for your feelings to take you there, then living by feelings will become the prevailing habit in your life and it will be a roller coaster life. Sometimes you are up and then almost immediately you can quickly come rushing down!
Your ‘life perspective’ is important here.
Some people view life like ‘mountains and valleys.’ And I agree, we all recall times when we feel like we are on top of that mountain and conversely when we are going through a valley. But this is not an accurate metaphor that reflects real life.
Real life is more like ‘railway tracks.’ One track is good and the other track is bad. This metaphor recognizes that both good and bad occur at the same time. I can receive news that I have just received a job promotion, but on the same day hear about a family member or close friend that has experienced tragedy.
And this is why we need to carry thankfulness toward God in all things because we have very little control over life and what happens. So carry a thankful attitude in the good and the bad and the Bible says you will be in God’s will:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.