1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. “
This week has got to be one of my favorite weeks of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us. For most of us, it is a time that we get to spend with family. It is a time where we sit around feasting on wonderfully cooked food and enjoy one another’s company. It is a time for watching football and going hunting. It is a wonderful time!
For many there will even be a time of going around the table and sharing with one another what each person is so thankful for. Folks will point out one another with gracious words of whom they are most thankful for. Yes, it will be a joyful time for a lot of families.
I would like to challenge you to think about Paul’s words here in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 for just a brief moment. Paul had just previously been talking with them about attitudes, feelings and actions towards other believers, but now he turns his attention in verse 16 to their attitudes and actions towards God Himself. He says three vital things to think about as we approach this week.
First, we are to rejoice always. This is vital for Christians. God is telling us to rejoice always. If we were to merely read this verse without any context whatsoever we make attribute this word rejoice as something to be merely emotional. In other words we might look at this to simply be happy in whatever state we find ourselves. However, that is not what God is saying to us here. He is pointing out to us that the basis for our joy is God’s activity and work in and among our lives. It is that fact that we are able to rejoice even when things are tougher than you ever thought possible. The knowledge that God is actively working among you, in you, through you, and for you through ALL circumstances is enough for the Christian to rejoice about.
Second, we are to pray without ceasing. This simply means we are to be in prayer mode as we walk throughout our daily walk. In other words, Paul is telling us to pray constantly, and to persevere in and through prayer. Prayer is an awesome privilege and tool that the Christian has in his/her life with Jesus. Why not use it? It is important to note that rejoicing and praying go hand-in-hand. The way to rejoice more is to pray more. God uses these in our lives as they work together. The more we pray, the more our lives will be lined up with God’s perfect will.
Third, give thanks in everything. If we pray without ceasing we will rejoice more. As we pray without ceasing we will find ourselves in a state of more contentment. We will not find ourselves in so much need as we think that we are in many times. Paul is telling us that we should be thankful in every condition we are in. It could be the condition of adversity or the condition of luxury. Either way, we are able to give thanks to our mighty Creator. No matter what state we find ourselves, whether in need or having plenty, we ( Christians ) have been reconciled to God in Jesus Christ, and that is always plenty to be thankful for!
So let me say that there are so many wonderful people and things I am thankful for in my life. I have a wonderful wife, two amazing kids, and 1 on the way any day. My mom and dad are the best parents a kid could ever hope for. I have a sister whom I love dearly and feel closer to her now than ever in my life. My church family is so wonderful, and they are constantly a blessing to my whole family. It would be easy for me to go on-and-on about the people, and even the things in my life that God has richly blessed me with. However, there is something that I am thankful for above all in my life. That is the gift of salvation. I have been reconciled to God through my Savior Jesus Christ. He is the only way to be reconciled, and He has done that in my life. Nothing can snatch me out of His grasp. Nothing can take away what I have in Him. There is nothing so great and so wonderful as to know Jesus Christ personally as Lord of your life.
In closing, it is this reconciliation with God through His Son Jesus that I am able to be thankful for anything. Most people this Thanksgiving will reflect on their thankfulness for all of the good in their lives ( people, places, and things ). The daily walk of the child of God should be to rejoice always, pray constantly, and be thankful in EVERYTHING.