There is often talk amongst Christians about being in God’s will. We pray for each other to be “in it.” We often fret over decisions, wondering which choice is God’s will. And we (often mistakenly) assume we are out of God’s will when circumstances get tough.
Our human minds complicate what Scripture puts forth in a very straightforward manner.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for THIS is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
We try to define God’s will as something predominantly outward, but Scripture shows us that God’s will is something that occurs within us. Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.
Sure, each one of these can manifest itself outwardly, but…
Rejoicing begins within.
Praying begins within.
Being thankful begins within.
As always, God is concerned with our hearts and minds over our outward facade.
But why these three?
Could it be that if we are always rejoicing, it would mean our minds are held captive by thoughts of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness? Those thoughts then saturate our subconscious, and eventually, everywhere we look, we have reason to rejoice.
The secular world calls this manifestation.
Scripture calls it rejoicing always.
Pray without ceasing.
Maintaining constant communication with THE God of the universe is God’s will for us. Don’t know what to pray? No problem. Keep praying, assured that the Holy Spirit intercedes on your behalf, and know that when we rejoice and give thanks, as prescribed in this verse, we pray in chorus with Heaven itself.
The secular world calls this a mantra.
Scripture calls it praying ceaselessly.
Give thanks in ALL circumstances. This imperative reminds us of rejoicing always, but with a twist. When we give thanks, our perspective shifts from one of a defiant child to a trusting child who bends their will to their Father’s. Even when it is painful, we can give thanks because nothing can separate us from God’s perfect love.
Giving thanks, like rejoicing, and praying, captures our thoughts/conscious mind, which often wants to point out everything that’s going wrong, and replaces those thoughts with grateful, trusting thoughts.
The secular world calls this gratitude/affirmations.
Scripture calls it giving thanks.
But what about when we experience loss at depths we didn’t know existed?
What about when there is one disappointment after another?
What about when the future is uncertain?
Can we be honest? Absolutely.
In that honesty, can we give thanks that He hears, cares, and tends to us as we pray, rejoicing and giving thanks that He will never leave or forsake us in our trials? Absolutely.
Applying 1 Thes. 5 17-19 allows our mind to be taken captive and brought into the holy of holies, where our fleshly/worldly/anxious/ungrateful thoughts are replaced with rejoicing…God, I rejoice that You are with me. Because You are at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Prayer…God, You are in control and worthy of my praise and trust. I choose to cast all of my burdens on You, for You will sustain me. And giving thanks…I see what’s happening around me, and I thank You for working it all together for my good.
“Is this God’s will?” Dear believer, you can rest assured that when you are rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks, you are in the very heart of His will.
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