“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I love this verse because of the underlying message of it. I know that the “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances,” part is often quoted or printed on clothes or decorations. But stopping there leaves out a crucial part of the message: “this is God’s will for you.”
It’s so important because we can take from those words the fact that God’s will for his people is to rejoice! God wants you to be joyful, to be filled with a supernatural joy in all circumstances. Does that mean that believers in God will always have an easy, wealthy, healthy life free from bad news or tragedy? No, certainly not. It means that even in the midst of tragedy, God has given us something to be joyful about no matter what. Something that surpasses even the darkest moments on earth with a joy that cannot be darkened.
How do we attain this joy? Well, theoretically the joy of knowing that you’ve been saved and granted eternal life with God should be enough. If we had faith in that, even the size of a mustard seed, the joy would be apparent. But, we’re human. Sometimes we’re more nearsighted, unable to see that far-off and unseen future. That’s when the other two instructions of this verse come into play. Pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances.
If you’re constantly in prayer – that is, always in communication with God, connected deeply to him – your faith will certainly be stronger. If you treat God as a friend that is by your side all day every day, then you’d almost definitely have more faith than if you treat him as a pen pal in another country. Be in communication with God constantly and about everything.
The last, and maybe most important part is to give thanks always. It’s hard to be negative when you have an attitude of thanksgiving. It’s hard to focus on what’s going wrong when you’re focused on what good things you have. There is always something to be thankful. You just have to train yourself to focus on the blessings rather than the negatives. In the end, there will always be a blessing to be grateful for even if all else goes wrong – salvation. A posture of gratitude and humility for our eternal salvation will always bring joy.
I thank you for you will for my life to be joyful. Thank you that in all situations I will have something to be thankful for, and I will always be able to commune with you in prayer. I pray that you help me to build my life around these things and to be joyful always because of it.
In Jesus’ Name,