God's Will Is...

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’


Observations: In Paul’s closing words to the Christians in Thessalonica, he gives a huge list of commands (v13b-22), 15 in all. The previous 7 all have to do with how we treat other people, but the last 8 have to do with our own attitudes. In this sentence Paul gives us three commands and a reason to obey them. Firstly, he commands us to ‘be joyful always.’ The word ‘always’ means ‘at all times.’ Paul obviously isn’t suggesting that we should always feel happy, rather that at all times, good and bad, we should remember the reasons we have to be joyful i.e. in Christ we have been reconciled with God and have eternal life. Secondly, Paul commands us to ‘pray continually.’ Again Paul doesn’t mean that we should do nothing else but pray. Rather he means that we should be continually aware of God’s presence and turn to him continuously throughout our day. We should always be in an ongoing dialogue with God. Thirdly, Paul commands us to ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’ Again Paul isn’t suggesting that we should be excited about tragic circumstances, but rather that we will recognize that God is in control fall our circumstances and that he is using them to bring about his purposes and our ultimate good. Finally, Paul gives us a reason why we should do these things, because they are ‘God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.’ This is how God wants his children to live.


Application: So often we want to know what God’s will for us is, and here Paul gives it plain and simple. At its heart God’s will isn’t about where we live, or what job we choose, but being joyful, praying continually and giving thanks always. Is this how you are living? Even in the midst of difficult circumstances do you remind yourself of the reasons you have to be joyful and to give thanks? In the course of your day are you continually listening to God and turning to him in prayer? Is your life defined by the new relationship you have with God because of Jesus Christ?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the truth is that so often I place my relationship with You into little compartments, for 30 minutes in the morning and a few hours on Sundays. But Lord, You are with me every moment of my day, help me to remember that truth and to make You a part of everything that I do. And Lord, You have given my reasons to rejoice and to give thanks for all eternity, and yet so often I get distracted by the things of this world. Lord, help me to be joyful always and give thanks in every circumstance. You deserve my every breathe, for You bought me with the blood of Your Son, my Saviour and Lord. In the His name I pray. Amen.

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