“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Joy is effortless when things are going well in your life. Joy just happens when your health is reasonably well, your family is happy, your work situation is conflict-free, and your car is flowing smoothly through the traffic. But what happens when the doctor orders testing, your children are miserable, your boss is unreasonable, or your car is just inching down the road?
Be joyful always.
The prayers go up effortlessly when the blessings are pouring down. The praise comes easy when your portfolio is out-performing the averages, your children are making good grades, friends, and the team, your job review resulted in an unexpected raise, and your struggle with sin seems to be a distant memory. Or maybe the prayers start surging when the blessings seem to dry up. The petitions surge when financial reversal limits you, when your children’s struggles burden you, when your job termination stuns you, or when your heart is grappling with temptation and sin. Some find it easy to pray when things are going well but feel like any life difficulty erects a barrier from God. Others forget God during the good times and turn to Him only when suffering.
Thanksgiving naturally gushes forth in time of plenty; when at the table spread with turkey and all the trimmings and surrounded by those who are most dear to you. But what when you are enduring one of those end of the month fried bologna meals? What about when you find yourself alone, isolated from all those you love?
Give thanks in all circumstances.
In this passage God reveals His will for our lives. God teaches us the need for consistency in our walk with Him. Wonderful are the days when the joy, the prayer, and the thanksgiving just come naturally. But as you grow in Christ you find just as wonderful the days when the joy, the prayers, and the thanksgiving are experienced and offered right in the face of circumstances that could be used as an excuse for a joyless, prayerless, and thankless life.
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Message).