“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).
“For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…”
Again? This too is God’s will for the Christian?
You don’t have to wonder if this is God’s will. You don’t have to guess.
God just comes out and says, “This is my will for you.”
Well, what is it? What is God’s will for the Christian?
“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.”
Pay attention to these words: always, continually, and all circumstances. That, I would argue, is pretty darn conclusive. Not sometimes. Always. Not just once in a while. Continually. Not in some situations, but all circumstances.
What are we called to do always, continually, and in all circumstances? Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.
You see, God doesn’t tell us to be happy. He tells us to rejoice. Joy is so different than happiness. You see, I was happy when the Mariners were up 7-0 against the Cubs the other week. And I was very upset by the end of the game when the Mariners lost to the Cubs 9-14! How in the world do you lose a baseball game after going up 7 runs!!! But here’s the thing about joy. You can be unhappy and still be filled with joy.
I’ve seen it. I’ve seen people who’ve lost their spouse of six decades be filled with grief and sorrow, and who are at the same time rejoicing because they know that death does not get the last word, that disease does not win. Because of Jesus and the empty tomb that this departure is temporary. Grief and sorrow doesn’t cancel out resurrection hope and joy. They can co-exist.
Pray continually. Not just once in a while. But continually. Be mindful throughout the day of God’s presence in our lives.
Finally, give thanks in all circumstances. Not some. Not only in good situations. But in all circumstances. How? Why? Because the tomb is empty. We start on the basis of God’s ultimate victory. Even if nothing good ever happens again, we start with the resurrection and the empty tomb. God wins. And we’re already victors because of all that God has done in Jesus Christ.
Always – Continually – All Circumstances
Rejoice – Pray – Give Thanks