Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Most of us wonder from time to time what God’s will is for us. Paul clearly tells us what part of the Lord’s will includes: rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. May this be our goal today as we meditate on these verses.
There is no event or circumstance that can occur in our life that should diminish our Christian joy. The command of Scripture is explicit – rejoice! How often? Always. In the English it says, “Rejoice always.” In the Greek it says, “Always rejoice.” The emphasis is on the adverb - at all times be rejoicing. The reason we are to rejoice is based on the character of God who is consistently gracious, merciful, kind and compassionate toward His own. Don’t let Satan steal your joy. A rejoicing believer thinks more about his Lord than he does his personal difficulties. The joyful Christian thinks more of his glorious eternal future than his present pain. And when you live like that - the command “rejoice always” becomes not only possible but desirable.
Next Paul in this simple and specific command calls on Christians to pray as a way of life. Praying should be like breathing – normal and natural, it’s just living for us. In prayer we inhale and we exhale the presence and the power of God. You would assume that the pressures of life would force us to pray even as atmospheric pressure forces us to breathe but that’s not always the case. We restrict our intake of the very presence of God due to our own sinfulness. So Paul reminds us to breathe - pray without ceasing because it is an essential part of Christian living and it flows out of dependence on God.
Finally Paul says very directly, “In everything give thanks” - no exceptions and no excuses - in everything give thanks. He is saying no matter what happens to you in life - no matter what circumstance, struggle, or trial - be thankful. When a person becomes a Christian all of a sudden there is a new heart and a new soul and a new inner life. There’s something different about the inner man and built into that newness is a heart of thanksgiving that cries out in gratitude to God. It’s so hard to find someone more thankful than a brand new Christian. Thanksgiving becomes a part of the fabric of our new life and is the fruit of the grace of the work of the Spirit within us.
This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus - that you would have constant joy, constant prayer and constant thanks. That's His will.
Weekly Memory Verse: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6.23