1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Posted November 23, 2012
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Happy Thanksgiving, all... We figured since it's Thanksgiving (for those in the US), we'd post something to help engage our minds & hearts around this day and all it represents. These particular verses from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 teach us what some of things that should mark the lives of those who know & love Jesus Christ.
1) Rejoicing always.
Christians should not be strangers to joy! It's one of the fruit of the Spirit. Why can we rejoice (or re-joy) always? One reason is because we know that even when things seem crazy and out of control in life, God is not overwhelmed, but still sovereign and in control. This should bring us great joy and confidence! Secondly, because if we have put our trust in Jesus, our names are written in the Book of Life. Think about that amazing truth. Thirdly, God is a God of joy so joy should be a natural by-product for those who spend time with Him! GK Beale said, "When we worship something we become like the object that we behold."
2) Praying without ceasing.
This verse is often either used to shame people's prayer lives, or overlooked because it seems impossible and impractical. However, the truth is that apart from prayer & fellowship with God, we can't carry fulfill the prior command to rejoice always! It is precisely as we pray without ceasing that God works in our hearts and helps change us and fill us with His joy. What this verse doesn't mean is that we have to join a monastery and walk around with our eyes closed and hands folded. Similar to breathing, we learn to maintain an attitude of dependence on God throughout the day. If you need encouragement in this area, check out JR Vassar's sermon series on prayer here from July 2010 (particularly "The Practicalities of Prayer" and "Prayer: Communion not Control"): http://www.apostlesnyc.com/media/sermons/
3) Giving thanks in all circumstances.
This seems to be a continuation of the first idea that we should rejoice always... God calls us to give thanks in all circumstances. This seems especially difficult for those who are going through an intense season of suffering. How do we give thanks in that situation? Sometimes, it's only with eyes of faith and hope that we look to a time where God will eventually right the wrongs and restore the most broken of things. No matter how crazy, God will somehow (and even mysteriously) work for His glory and our good. We might not know how in this life, and often will never get answers to these questions, but it should never dampen our ability to thank God even in the roughest of times. He's still in control and he's still good, so give thanks! If there should ever be a people who give joyful thanks, it's those who've come to know the love of Jesus Christ and the power of God!
If you're wondering if all these things apply to you, these verses end with the phrase: "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." If are a Christian, you are called to consistent joy, to unceasing prayer, and to regular thanksgiving! This is God's will for you in Christ Jesus...
This song was written by Joel Limpic, Chris Clark, and Ben Hill at a Thanksgiving lunch, and then recorded with an intentional "living room" feel to it joined by Emery Clark. We wanted to capture the vibe of hanging out with friends and playing music together. We hope you join in!