Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
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 (MSG)
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.
“Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” -AMPLIFIED
In Paul’s final instructions to the Thessalonians he gives them a list of expectations to follow. These were things that not only he would appreciate seeing in them, but more importantly things that God expected to see in them. Some of these things were to: work hard, live in peace, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with one another and strive to do good.
Paul then inserts, as if it were, a few nuggets that seem out of the ordinary. These were nuggets of truth that would enhance their lives and give them a godly perspective. Rejoice always; no matter what. Pray all the time. Always give thanks; no matter what may be happening in your life.
Paul was giving direction to the Thessalonians that they had a personal choice in how they would act or re-act. You can choose to rejoice, you can choose to pray, you can choose to give thanks or you can choose to do the opposite; be depressed, ungrateful and cut off from God’s close fellowship. It is a choice that each of us need to make personally and in every instant.
Notice that Paul does not say, “Rejoice for every circumstance”, but “in every circumstance”. There is a vast difference between the two. Notice too, there are no exceptions; in every situation and in every circumstance. There is always something that we can find to thank God for and looking for the good causes us to focus on the positive and not the negative.
Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks! It sounds so easy; until you lose your job, a loved one or you feel as if you can’t go on. What then? What happens when it appears that the World around you is crumbling? What happens when it seems that there is just no way possibly to carry on? Rejoice, pray and give thanks. Yes, even when it seems that there is no way possible that things will ever get better. God is still there in the midst of whatever is happening in your life. God is the one constant that you can always count on. When all else fails and there seems to be no reason to carry on; God still loves you, is always available for you and wants the very best for you. Hold on to His love; rejoice in His presence, pray for His help and give thanks that He is who He is!
The story is told of Ruth Bell Graham who struggled with worry over her rebellious children. One night she awoke with an overwhelming worry for her son. She tried to pray, but this worry became an even greater anxiety; an overpowering fear seemed to grip her. As she lay there, unable to go back to sleep, nor to find the break-through that she so desperately desired God spoke to her. The Lord spoke to her these words, “Quit studying the problems and start studying the promises.”
Ruth rose, got out here Bible and turned to Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” She realized that the missing ingredient in her prayers had been thanksgiving and so she amended that; putting down her Bible she began to worship and give thanks for and to God.
Take the time today to choose to rejoice, pray and give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus!
Lord, help me to have the right attitude and perspective in this life.
Help me to focus on what you are doing in my life and through my life; not on the negative things. You are a good God! You have given me salvation, forgiveness, and a hope; that I would otherwise not have. Your love is overwhelming, reaching and touching every part of my life. You are a caring, compassionate Father. Your grace is amazing. You never leave me alone, but walk through the valleys with me and up the mountains too. Thank you God for all you do, but more importantly thank you for who you are. I love you Heavenly Father.