I just have a quick and challenging thought for you this week from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
This passage gives 3 quick, short challenges that should change our whole aspect and perception on life. It says to rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all circumstances. Let’s break these down.
“Rejoice evermore” — To have joy is not to be happy about your circumstance but to have joy through the circumstance Christ has placed you in. As Christians we should be able to rejoice always because our joy is not based in our circumstances but in God. The best way to be a light in this world is to find comfort and peace in the joy God has given you even in the worst possible circumstance.
“Pray without ceasing” — Prayer should be the first response to a circumstance or trial in a believer’s life. To pray without ceasing doesn’t mean that you are in a constant head bowed, eyes closed and hands folded position at all times. At the end of the day those are just actions or customs of prayer, not prayer itself. Not saying that you should neglect that reverent time alone with Christ. Time alone with Christ is essential to the command to pray without ceasing. Prayer is communication with Christ your Heavenly Father, so to pray without ceasing is to have a constant flowing conversation with God.
“Give thanks in all circumstances” —Christ isn’t telling you to give thanks for everything, but in everything. As Christians we have put our faith and trust in Christ for our salvation so we must also put that same trust in His sovereign hand in our lives. Recognize that He is in control and you aren’t relying on chance or blind fate. Look back on the circumstances and trials of life and be encouraged that Christ was faithful through it.
Charles Spurgeon said “When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude.” If we are saturating our lives with rejoicing (joy) and prayer we will be thankful in our circumstances. It isn’t easy to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks, but we can do it because it is God’s will. I’ve heard it put this way, the thought isn’t “it’s God’s will, so you must do it,” but instead “it’s God’s will, so you can do it.”
When we come up on certain circumstances in life, I believe that these 3 things are the easiest to neglect. As Christians, we must make a conscious decision to praise God in the storm (rejoice evermore), have a constant attitude of God’s presence (pray without ceasing), and to thank God for His sovereignty over all things (give thanks in all circumstances.)