1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ESV
Here it is. The answer to the age-old question, “What is the will of God for my life?”
Clearly stated in 3 parts, Paul gives us the answer. This is the will of God for your life:
- Rejoice always. Um, always? Like when my personal life is in complete shambles, I feel completely alone and like nothing I can do makes anything better? When I lose the job that pays the mortgage? When I lose a sibling, parent or child? When betrayal hits from a spouse or a best friend? When your closest person is dying in front of your eyes? Yes, friends – even in the midst of that. We are to rejoice in our hope, in our salvation – in Jesus – our true North. Rejoice in our Father, our Savior, our Helper. Regardless of what is happening, He still reigns and it will eventually turn out for good.
- Pray without ceasing. Without ceasing? Is that possible? Obviously, we can’t stay a shut in like a monk, but they, too, have to take a break to work around the temple. Ceasing here means a continuous persistent and consistent prayer life. What about just praying in church? I would suggest not. To be close with someone in general you need to have consistent communication, don’t you? You are closer to the friends and relatives you spend the most time with are you not? Same principles apply to God. The more you spend time in prayer, the closer you become and the more you get to see God move in your little details in life that you would otherwise miss out on if you never even bothered to ask. He cares about everything we are involved in – I promise you mean that much to Him.
- Give thanks in all All of them? Can’t I just moan and complain when life sucks? Stay in the pity party of my life? Guilty as charged in some places in my past – I had times I lost my sanity and looked unsaintly with my constant complaining and refusing to focus on ways to give thanks. I’ve also done a great job other times in hard circumstances where I praised God with a silent voice because I was just crying through the praise. Do we have to be thankful for all circumstances? Most commentary agrees with the masses – when hardship befalls us we are not thankful for the circumstances but rather we are to be thankful in the circumstances. What we are charged with as believers is to give thanks for what God is going to do though those tough circumstances. He promises all things will work together for good for those of us who love God (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, we thank Him for the good that will come out of our bad circumstances and thank Him for His promises, hope, peace and all the other beautiful things He gives us in Christ Jesus. Those are always available to us no matter our circumstance. Never stop thanking Him!