1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
What fuels thanksgiving when life seems to be one discouragement, disappointment, disease, disaster, and death after another?
Continual thanksgiving even in the worst of circumstances can be done by focusing on the current and future joy in and with Christ! The mark of authentic Christianity is the gratitude one has toward the Savior!
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he gives us a little insight into how thanksgiving joy in Christ can be accomplished.
Rejoice v.16  What are some things that you can rejoice in? You may not be healthy, wealthy, or even wise, but if you’re in Christ, you have everything! Psalm 113:1-9 “Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,”
Request v.17  Prayer is the instrument God has designed for our good and His pleasure! Verses 16 and 17 sound very much like the verses in Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Repeat v.18  Thank God in every circumstance! Even in the worst of times or the best of times, thank God! If gratitude for Christ is the mark of a true believer than the lack of gratitude is the mark of an unbeliever. We see this clearly in Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  They knew about God much like the demons in James knew about God, yet they had never experienced the joy of salvation!
The only way we will give thanks to God is to give Him our lives daily and feel His peace as we look forward.
Reasons to Give Thanks as We Look Forward
You will have the free gift of complete forgiveness for all your sins extending into forever (Romans 6:23).
You will never have to merit your justification by keeping the law (Galatians 2:16).
You will have all your real needs provided while on earth (Philippians 4:19).
You will receive all the grace you need at all times so that you will abound in every good work God has for you (2 Corinthians 9:8).
God will complete the good work he began in you (Philippians 1:6).
You will be raised from the dead and never, ever die again (1 Corinthians 15:52–53).
That means someday soon you will see Jesus, be with him (2 Corinthians 5:8), and be like him (1 John 3:2).
In that day you will know for the first time full, unpolluted joy (Psalm 16:11).
You will be completely free from all corruption (Romans 8:21).
You will have God forever (1 Peter 3:18) as your exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4).
The joy set before you is the same joy Jesus had set before him, because you are an heir of the kingdom with him (Romans 8:17).