Rejoice In The Lord Always!
In the book of 1 Thessalonians
5:16-18, it says, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything
give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. To rejoice always
seems like such an impossible mandate! Why, there is so much evil in the world!
There is sickness. Hunger. Tragedies of epic proportions. The economy is so
uncertain. It seems we hear of more negative news from the middle east with each
passing minute. How is it possible to rejoice in this environment?! According to
scripture, we are to rejoice in the Lord! Philippians 4:4 says, Rejoice in
the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! Apparently, the focus of our
rejoicing is key! When I concentrate on Jesus, the depravity of the world in
which I live is not as important. It does not command my full attention anymore.
As I turn my eyes upon Him, the things of this world do grow
strangely dim! I see His goodness. I remember his faithfulness. I am reminded
how He saved me with His unconditional love, and unmerited favor! Consequently,
the pallor of the wickedness of man, retreats in the presence of the Almighty
Prince of Peace! Now, this does not mean the problems of mankind do not exist.
It does not imply that we should ignore those around us who are dying in their
sins. On the contrary! It compels us to embrace the world with the very
love He has given us! Because we do not focus on the evil, but on the One
Who will one day vanquish evil for good...we are strengthened! We rejoice in the
hope of Who He IS! We rejoice in promise of His TRUTH, and the TRUTH of His
The verse continues with, pray
without ceasing. Some might think that to be a very difficult requirement as
well. It is not. Those who have accepted the Lordship of Jesus Christ over their
lives, have also received His Holy Spirit! And it is that Spirit, which can
continually pray through us! Consider this. If your heart and mind are dedicated
to rejoicing in the Lord always, what will you be filled with? You will be
filled with Him! If you are filled with Him, through the Spirit, you can do ALL
things! Even pray without ceasing! Romans
8:26 (KJV) puts it very clearly.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should
pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with
groanings which cannot be uttered. Maybe we do not know what we should
constantly be praying for, but the Spirit knows! So, if we are walking
daily with our hearts turned toward Jesus, empowered by the same Spirit that
raised Him from the dead, we WILL BE IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH GOD.
Therefore, to pray without ceasing, becomes a function of living in celebration
of WHO Jesus is!
Appropriately, the last
portion of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 involves thanksgiving. In everything
give thanks. Again, I do not believe we are to thank God for the results of
sin, or living in a sinful world. We are to give thanks regardless of
sin, and living in a sinful world. In other words, we are to be ever thankful
that the God of the universe considers us as His own! We are to live with
thankful hearts that herald His design, plan, and will. Ours is not to decipher
his plan, revealing the hidden intricacies of something so much more profound
than our infinite minds can comprehend. We are not designed to make a plan which
somehow fits with His. Our plan should be to follow His plan, no matter
how much, or how little we understand at any given time. Like King Saul learned,
God is interested in OBEDIENCE, NOT sacrifice. King Saul came up with an
alternative to the plan of God, and it ultimately cost him his kingdom. I pray
we are not making the same mistakes of those men and women in the Bible who
tried to make their own way, instead of following HIS way! Our way will always
end in death. His way is replete with LIFE...even in the face of death! And when
it comes to Gods will for our lives. It is HIS BEST for us! We are encouraged by
the Word of God to lean not on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:4-6)
And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in
the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all
your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Thanksgiving is a
lifestyle which shouts allegiance to the King! It is a lifestyle which believes,
hopes, endures, and overcomes through the blood of the Lamb. A thankful Christ
follower knows WHO is for him/her. They will not be moved by the things
of this world. They are moved, and will be moved ONLY by the hand of God.
So...what are you? Are you a rejoicing Christ follower who prays without
ceasing? Are you a rejoicing Christ follower who prays without ceasing, and is
thankful in all things? If not, why not? If so, keep rejoicing. Keep praying.
And always be thankful to the One Who made you to be an overcoming, blood
bought, saint, filled with His Spirit, and full of His Power! Until next
time...Be BLESSED WITH HIS BEST!
Your Partner In Ministry,