“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sometimes we find ourselves in a circumstance and wonder how we are supposed to respond. Maybe we are disappointed, maybe sad, or maybe overjoyed. 1 Thessalonians gives us instruction on what to do- rejoice, pray, and give thanks!
Well, when does that apply? All of the time! These verses tell us that this is the will of God. How often do we wish that God would tell us what his will is? Well, here, he does. So how do you do these things? Well, you can always rejoice and give thanks that you are a child of God, and that you have a good, sovereign, loving and faithful father. This is true even if your circumstances are sad or disappointing.
Notice the words- give thanks IN all circumstances- not FOR all circumstances. There is a difference. Remember that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
We can also rejoice and give thanks that we are able to talk to God- through prayer. Romans 8:26-27 says that the Spirit intercedes for us- even when we do not know what to pray for, and in accordance with God’s will. How wonderful! In fact, we should pray often- our verse today says “without ceasing”. Sometimes situations won’t let you take a time out for a long prayer- but your attitude can be prayerful, and you can always lift up a short prayer as well. Don’t forget that you can pray with your eyes open!
Think about someone you really enjoy spending time with- you like to talk to them a lot don’t you? Think of prayer as talking to God- your Father, your Savior; he loves his children more than you can possibly imagine.
Our tendency is to pray and talk to God when something is going wrong, or when we want something. Just like our tendency is to rejoice or give thanks when things are going really well. But these verses are reminding us that we should pray all the time- even when things are going well. And they remind us to rejoice and give thanks, even when our tendency is not to.
These verses remind us that sometimes our tendencies are different from what we should do. As we make conscious decisions to obey these commands our perspective will change, and over time we will find these things easier to do. So the next time you are wondering what to do – rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!
Do you need reminding to rejoice, pray, and give thanks?