Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Paul tells the believers at Thessalonica this guiding principle.
Rejoice: be joyful, express praise.
Always: do it at all times.
Wait a minute! No one can be joyful when they have a car wreck, when they lose a loved one through death, or when they are faced with a divorce.
In times like these, we can be thankful that Jesus is there to give us the strength to guide us through the difficulties, the grief, and emotions.
At certain times, we may have to search for reasons to rejoice about the issue we face but, if we ask His guidance, Jesus always shows us His purpose, according to His timing.
pray without ceasing
How can a believer do this? How can we be in prayer non-stop throughout our days?
We should maintain an attitude of prayer. We can pray whenever we come across a need, be it ours or another’s. When we hear another person express a need or a concern, we can offer to pray right then. When we face upsetting circumstances ourselves, we can cry out to Jesus in our hearts.
give thanks IN all circumstances
Paul then tells the Thessalonians and future believers to “give thanks.” When we thank another person, we convey our appreciation of them and their deeds. When we give thanks to the LORD, we humble ourselves before Him and express gratitude for what He has done.
He then tells us to do this in all circumstances. When we first read this, we might gloss over the preposition. He tells us to express our appreciation IN ALL circumstances-whether good or bad.
When we give thanks to the LORD we give homage (honor) to Him for His presence with us. For what He has done for us, or for what He will do to guide us through to the resolution of the issue we face.
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Paul further tells us why we should do these actions. God desires to have us acknowledge Him and what He does on our behalf.