Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-17
When you read Paul's admonition to new believers in the ancient city of Thessalonica, you may be thinking that's good advice for them, but he didn't know your circumstances in 2020. Right now life is very hard with economic downturns, political unrest, social injustices, and COVID-19 on top of everything else! It's easy to dismiss the apostle's directive and to dispare, but his action words are true. Following them is the best advice you can take.
Being joyful in the midst of hardships and trials reflects a deep conviction that God is in control despite whatever is going on in your corner of the world. Your faith in Him is at the core of your being, and He will see you through no matter what comes your way. A Christian's joy is not dependent on what's going on around them, but it comes from knowing Christ and what He did on Calvary to bring you peace with God. Joy of that kind is not fleeting. It is consistent and abiding within your heart.
The second action word of encouragement that Paul offers was to pray continually. Basically, he wanted his fellow Christ followers to have a 24/7 hotline to God. Quick prayers of concerns for themself as well as others should be the norm when facing any difficulty. Rather than whining and complaining to each other, make the situation a matter of prayer and leave it in the Father's hand. Once again, such a practice shows a heart and mind attitude which honors God as number one in your life.
The final word indicating action was to call believers to give thanks. Because the reconciliation between man and God was accomplished on Calvary, hearts should overflow with gratitude. Thanksgiving for material blessings are important, but far greater is thanksgiving for the spiritual blessings we enjoy as followers of Jesus. They should exceed everything else.
As we march towards the day known as Thanksgiving on our calendars, may we put these action words into practice regularly. If you do, I guarantee that your holiday will be very special regardless of who you're with or wherever you are.
Grasp the truths behind I Thessalonians 5:16-17. Memorize and practice it in the days ahead.
Written by: Lois Dahlstrom
BE JOYFUL, PRAY, AND GIVE THANKS!