Have you every really stopped and pondered these words. Some days you are probably just glad you made it through. Noise and chaos surrounds us most days and it can be overwhelming. Our schedules are full with no margin for rest or even slowing down. There is work, family, kid’s activities, church, and if there is is any time left, maybe Jesus gets a couple of minutes before you pass out from exhaustion. Only to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.
You tell yourself, “there must be a better way”. “There has to be more than this”. Or maybe you are like a lot of people, you say, “what’s the use”, “I never feel as though I’m ahead of the game”. I don’t pretend to know what your day throws at you. I just know what my day throws at me. Sometimes it’s a wreck, I’m left shaking my head wondering, “what just happened”!
In 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18, the Apostle Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. What a refreshing Word from God. Rejoice means that you feel joy, feel pleasurable satisfaction, and are delighted. You say, “yea but delighted in what”? Delighted in Christ Jesus. Delighted that He offered Himself freely for your sins, so that you may be saved and joined to Him for eternity. If you cannot find anything in your day to rejoice about then focus upon what Jesus did on the cross. He did that for you! I will submit to you that when you begin to reflect upon all that Jesus has done for you and continues to do, you will be able to rejoice more and more often. Right now, I want you to stop and reflect on a blessing Jesus has given you today. Even if it’s that breath you are taking at this very minute. Rejoice!
The Apostle Paul does not stop with rejoicing, he says to pray without ceasing. Pray about what? Pray when? Paul gives us every reason to believe that we should pray about everything and pray often. Pray without ceasing should be the pattern of life for a follower of Jesus! Pray about the “little” things. Pray about the “big” things. Pray about everything. God wants us to be in constant conversation with Him. He cares about what we care about. He wants us to depend on Him for everything that our day holds. Good and bad. Pray,Pray, Pray! Is there ever a bad time to pray? The answer is no. How about right now you pray as you rejoice! God wants to hear from you, just take the time and talk to Him.
But Paul doesn’t stop there. He says in everything give thanks. Live life with a thankful heart. Thankful for all that God has done and continues to do every single day. Be thankful for the blessings He gives. Be thankful for the hard times He allows into your life, they are growing your faith in Him. He promises to walk with you through the fires and storms of life. Be thankful He is always right beside you. Be thankful he will never leave you nor forsake you. Be thankful He loves you.
The Apostle Paul finishes this section of Scripture by telling us that this is God’s will for our lives. God’s will is for us to rejoice, pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything. If you are searching for what God wants for your life. It starts right here. He wants us to live in dependence to Him. We must submit our entire life to Him. To rejoice, pray, and give thanks shows where our heart is focused. God promises that if we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. A life lived for Jesus has at its root these three characteristics. It rejoices in what Jesus has done, it prays without ceasing, and gives thanks in everything.
May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you;