In less than 20 words, we can feel convicted by this verse in First Thessalonians.
“Always.” “Continually.” “In all circumstances.”
Do we rejoice always?
Do we pray continually?
Yes, that’s what it says. Other versions say, “Pray without ceasing”; “Pray constantly”; “never stop praying.” The Amplified version goes one step further and explains, “be unceasing and persistent in prayer.”
And what about verse 18? “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Umm, did you catch that?
It’s God’s will for you and me to give thanks, not just in the easy stuff, but in ALL circumstances. That one little three-letter word includes health problems, job layoffs, relationship struggles, financial woes, and any other kind of frustrating, stressful circumstances. God’s will for us is to be thankful.
In fact, the mere act of being thankful can transform a grumpy heart into a joyful one. Specifically, when we start thanking God for our blessings and answered prayers, we are reminded that we serve a big God who loves us and cares about us. Even during times of frustration, agony, pain, or sorrow, having a thankful heart can help our trials feel more bearable and less overpowering.
But be careful of saving the thanksgiving principle for just the big doozy of a trial. Remember, “in all circumstances” even includes the little annoyances that happen every day.
Let me give you an example. I’ve been job hunting since February. One amazing lead after another with still no job. Just yesterday I was waiting to hear back from my head hunter on if I got the job I interviewed for last week and really, really wanted and needed!
I didn’t get the job. They didn’t want to pay me what I’m worth so they went with another candidate. I sobbed. I wept. Not because I don’t trust that the Lord has other opportunities for me and my family but because I felt like a failure. I mean, for almost 5 months, I’ve been turned down for jobs that I am well able to do.In the midst of my weeping, I thanked the Lord. I didn’t ask why. I didn’t second guess His work in our lives. As disappointed as I felt, I still praised Him for closing that door. I don’t know what that door held behind it but I do know that it wasn’t for me.
In the instant of giving Him thanks, my heart changed. My circumstances had not changed—only my attitude. But changing our attitude changes everything!
Heavenly Father, we praise You that You not only tell us to be thankful in all circumstances, but You help us to do so.
Please forgive me for the times that I am not thankful or rejoicing or praying. You want to have a continuous, consistent relationship with me, yet I often get so distracted by the concerns of life. Forgive me for that, Lord, and help me remember that being thankful helps me keep my eyes on You.
Lord, as I thank You in ALL circumstances, I want to specifically thank You for _______________
Help _______ rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Your will for him/her in Christ Jesus.
(From 1 Thessalonians 5 NIV)
Help me rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus.
(From 1 Thessalonians 5 NIV)
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