Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
It is the will of God that we rejoice, pray, and gives thanks without ceasing and that we do so in everything. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit’s careful choice of words as He inspired Paul to pen this passage. He tells us to rejoice always and to give thanks in everything as we face all that life brings.
I have heard some say that we need to thank God for everything that comes our way. According to them, we need to thank Him for illnesses, cancer, the death of loved ones, financial trials, and anything else that happens to us. But that is not the heart or intent of Paul’s exhortation here. What Paul actually said was for us to give thanks in everything, including the things we may not be thankful for.
Rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in everything are the will of God for anyone in Christ Jesus. Being in Christ means we are heirs with Him. It means we are empowered by His Spirit, and our eternal destiny is secure. Giving thanks for these things will keep us in an attitude of rejoicing prayer as we encounter everything life throws at us.
Life may bring some things your way that you may not and need not be thankful for, but nothing can change the very real things you can always be thankful for. You can always rejoice that you are in Christ, that you are a new creation, that your record of sin has been washed in Jesus’ blood and by that blood you have been cleansed and made whole.
If your current season of life is not a cause for rejoicing, then rejoice in prayer for the unchanging reality of your position in Christ. Be thankful for that in times and seasons you may not be thankful for. Rest assured, from dark and difficult times, God can bring good. But until that day arrives, the day when your former difficulty becomes a current ministry opportunity, rejoice, pray, and give thanks that you are in Christ—for this is the will of God for you!
Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.