Living by God’s will
Living by God’s will
Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
From the text, Paul moves his focus from church life to that of individual conduct and attitude. If the shared life of the church will be what it ought to be, then the persons within the church must exhibit Christlike qualities. He now presents to them three admonitions that affects specific areas in life where God’s will should prevail. “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). A Christian joy is not natural that continues to flow depending on the circumstances that surround our lives. It is a supernatural joy born out of our relationship with Christ. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is a joy that fills our hearts even in the midst of sufferings. Even in the face of persecution, Christians have the ability to find joy. Since joy is not the same as happiness or dependent upon external circumstances, Paul can encourage them to joy, even in their bad times because of the presence of their Savior. Paul’s second admonition is to “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The ability to rejoice continually is a result of walking closely with God. Constant prayer is a sign of dependence on God rather than on personal resources. God wants His children to grow in intimate relationship with Him and this takes place as they come in submission to His will through prayer. The third admonition is to “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The lack of a thankful spirit is characteristic of the ungodly life. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). Since God works out His will in all circumstances, the Christian has the capacity to be thankful in all circumstances. “And we know 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). Being thankful is God’s grace being at work in our inner lives. There is no situation or circumstance in the life of a believer that he or she could not be thankful. When the Spirit of God fills our lives, even in times of difficulties we can be victorious. A life of devotion and prayer leads to a thankful heart.