Have you ever read a segment of Scripture and wondered how on earth you could possibly apply it to your life? I’m sure we’ve all felt that way from time to time. Some parts of Scripture seem easier than others to put into practice; however, as followers of Christ we don’t get to pick and choose. We either accept all of it as truth, applying it to our lives, or we reject it all.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” How many of us have been able to fulfill that Scripture on our own? None! There is not one of us who can will ourselves to walk this out. Fortunately, further down in verse twenty-four we read “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” God never intended for us to walk this journey alone. He knew we weren’t capable of living out Scripture in our own strength and it was never His desire. He desires a relationship with us [John 17:20-21]. He created us for relationship with Him. He made it possible for us to have relationship with Him and to succeed in living out His will for our lives [John 3:16].
So let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “Rejoice always” doesn’t mean we have a throw down party when our lives fall apart. Rejoice means to take delight in, to be glad. God isn’t saying be happy when someone you know dies, rather, take delight in knowing you aren’t alone and God will carry you through [Deuteronomy 31:6,8, Psalm 23:4]. “Pray continually” doesn’t mean we have to lock ourselves in a closet and pray twenty-four seven without being able to function in society. Pray continually means to maintain an ongoing conversation with God, asking His advice, sharing your victories and crying out to Him in your pain, without ever shutting Him out. “Give thanks in all circumstances” simply means recognizing that even the hard times can be good times with Jesus and thanking Him for believing in us and our ability to persevere with Him [Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4].
When we put these things into practice, then we will find ourselves in the will of God. Now I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a place I’d like to reside for the rest of my life.
What do you have to rejoice about today? Is there something you need to talk over with Jesus, but you’ve kept Him at arm’s length on the issue? Have you failed to thank Him for all things, even the bad things that come your way? He’s by your side, eager and waiting, to usher you into His perfect will. Will you let Him?
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