[rejoice, pray, be thankful]
Ever had a conversation that went like:
What is the goal of a Christian?
To do the will of God.
What is the will of God?
Uh… Well… Um…
Yeah, I’ve had that situation many times in my life.
When you think you do know the right answer… but it turns out to be one of those squirrel stories. (“I know the right answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel.”)
Knowing right answer does not always guarantee that you know all the right answers to the questions that follow.
But as we came to the last chapter of 1 Thessalonians we’ve been studying with my friends on Tuesdays, I had to grin when I saw it.
There’s the answer. Right there, plainly spoken, not a riddle.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT
Out of the three, being thankful in all circumstances is probably the easiest for me. (Easiest out of three. I don’t mean that it’s always easy for me to be thankful in all circumstances.) I have learned that God allows certain things in our life that we might not like or that may hurt… but in the end, looking back, you can see how God has worked miracles BECAUSE of that painful thing in your life. I still have a long way to go before I will be thankful for everything that happens DURING the time when it happens, but one step at a time, right? 🙂
Never stop praying? Ever since I’ve started living on my own, it became a bit easier because I can pray / speak aloud when I want and there is nothing that distracts me (I rarely watch TV). I can wake up and say “Morning, God.” I did do it before, but it just felt a bit weird when there was someone else in my apartment. *Shrug*
This last thing, however, (the one that was actually first in the list Paul mentioned)… Rejoice always. Some other translations interpret it as “be always joyful” or “cheerful.” That one is the toughest for me. A part of me wants to blame it on being a realist and an adult, but another part of me screams in protest and argues that I just ceased to be a kid. Also, be always cheerful? What does it mean? Walk around and grin like an idiot? I don’t think that’s it, but it sounds like it.
As I ponder on application of these to my life, I think of Paul who penned these words 2,000 years ago.
His life was tough after he became a Christian. Yet, even from prison, he writes to his friends in Philippi,
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Philippians 4:4, NLT
How? What does it mean?
How could he be rejoicing?
And yet, he did rejoice.
What do you think about these three points of the will of God for our lives?
Rejoice, pray, be thankful.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
As for me, I’m planning on writing those on a post-it note and place it on my mirror, so as I leave home every day, I will not just recite the mantra of “Keys, wallet, work pass, cellphone,” but also, “Rejoice, pray, be thankful.”