For what did you thank God when you prayed to Him today? So often our thanks is for that which makes life pleasant for our flesh. That we may and in fact must do. For all that we have we receive from God. Not only all our food, clothing, and shelter comes from Him. Remember that we owe Him thanks for every heartbeat and for every breath of life.
Yes, by God's grace we also thank Him for the spiritual life and gifts which we receive through His Son, our Savior. However, the question remains, Do you thank God for the gift of which Paul speaks in Philippians 1:29 ? There Paul writes, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake."
At the moment you may not be persecuted physically by the world. But in the measure that we reveal Christ, and our faith in Him, in our lives, we will be laughed at, scorned, and avoided, and will be called fools and be ridiculed. That too is suffering for Christ's sake.
That hurts the flesh. Yet notice that Paul declares that this suffering is given to us by God. Yes, faith is given us; but so is suffering for Christ's sake. It is a gift for which we owe God thanks. As we approach the days of the Antichrist we are going to be persecuted very painfully.
We do well then to hold this truth before our minds when we reach that form of suffering. In those days we owe God thanks for this suffering for Christ's sake.
Such suffering makes it plain to us that we very really are members of Christ's body, and that His life is manifested in us. These sufferings are signs of the truth that we have been born again, and therefore also that our bodies will inherit blessedness and glory when He returns.
Thank God then for showing you that He has begun a good work in you and most assuredly will, when Christ returns, bring you to a wonderful life of covenant fellowship with Him in a glorious new creation.
Read: II Corinthians 4 .
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. —The Confessions of St. Augustine (354-430)