Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
In Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul gives three ways to live a spirit-filled life. Those three things are easy to do if a person sets his mind to doing them.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
As you can clearly see, those three things are:
- Rejoice always.
- Pray continually.
- Give thanks in all circumstances.
The first thing Paul tells us to do is to "Rejoice always." Rejoice means to be cheerful and happy. It is the opposite of being sorrowful and sad.
Another book written by Paul is Philippians. It is called the "joy book" because the keywords "joy" and "rejoice" are recorded about 16 times throughout that short book of only four chapters.
Joy is the emotion in a person when he is satisfied with his life and the way it is going. While happiness is an emotion based on what is happening around a person, joy is an inward emotion based on what is within a person. Joy is a noun. It is what a person has. Rejoice is a verb. It is what a person does. Rejoicing is the act of displaying joy.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.. (Philippians 4:4)
It is so amazing what Paul continued to say about joy and rejoicing is that at the time he wrote the Book of Philippians, he was under house arrest. If a man in chains could speak and live those words, then we should be able to do so while we have our freedom.
Rejoicing in the Lord is easy to do when we think about how much God loves us. That is understandable when we realize that God loves us not based on who we are, but it is based on who He is. God is the embodiment of love. There is nothing we can do or not do to make Him love us any more or any less. Therefore, we have plenty to rejoice about not just sometimes but always.
In this text, Paul tells us to pray continually. Some versions of the Bible say, "Pray without ceasing." That really means never stop praying. Pray when things are good and especially when things are bad because prayer is our connection with God. We stay connected when we pray. After all, prayer is communication with God.
To pray continually means to pray at all times without interruptions, gaps, or breaks in the action. If a person has a personal, intimate relationship with God, then prayer should be as easy and normal as breathing. It should be a characteristic of his lifestyle.
It is impossible for people to bow their heads and pray a formal prayer all the time. However, they can always have a prayer in their hearts when they are not in the position to say an audible prayer. Remember Hannah prayed so fervently in her heart for a male child. Eli, the priest of Shiloh accused her of being drunk when she hadn't had anything to drink.
As Hannah kept on praying before the LORD, Eli watched her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put away your wine!” (1 Samuel 1:12-14)
Notice the words of God say, "Give thanks IN all circumstances." The words do not say, "Give thanks FOR all circumstances." There is a big difference. When we give thanks in all circumstances, we stay connected to God even in troubled times. We don't give thanks for the trouble. Rather, we give thanks while in trouble because by faith we know that God will come into the trouble with us.
Notice that in each one of the short directives, Paul uses the words: always, continuously, and in all circumstances. That means we should never be disconnected from God.
It might be challenging when you first begin doing what Paul instructs. Once you get into the habit of doing those three things, the process becomes easier.
If things are not going right in your life, perhaps you need to make a change. There is no better way to make a change in your life than to follow the instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
- What Is the Meaning of 'Pray Without Ceasing'?
Don't make the mistake of thinking every prayer should be audible.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on May 06, 2021:
This is a useful reminder to people to spend free time reflecting on things and to use free opportunity to pray.
Kathy Henderson from Pa on May 04, 2021:
I love this, such a beautiful reminder. Prayer is a conversation and a dialog—a constant companion of surrender to the beautiful cross.
Thank you for sharing