Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Be joyful always.
Maybe your heart is saying, “Really? Joyful? My parents fight; someone is always mad at me. My dad never acts like I matter. I can’t do the work I’m expected to do. I never do anything right.”
Or maybe your head voices sound like, “Nothing I do is every enough. The bills never end. Something always needs—or at least wants—something more than the money allows. The house is a disaster. I don’t remember what joy feels like.”
Yet the words stand. Be joyful always. It is part of our Christian identity. Joy is a character trait that should be found in every Christian! Like many aspects of faith, joy is the result of deliberate action.
The actions that lead to joy are found in the next two verses.
- Pray continually.
- Give thanks.
Pray continually. Put those mountains that block your joy into the hands of Jesus and walk into the presence of God! Trust that Jesus will move them aside and clear the way to the life God desires for you. Joy comes from the presence of God. When we allow the stuff of life to keep us from the beautiful presence of God, we fall short of His desire—fall short of the joy of the glory of God.
Give thanks. Thankfulness is as natural as breathing when we rest in the presence of God. Do you remember when you have been in His presence…really seeing Him and feeling Him as the Word describes Him? All powerful. Supreme Authority. God of Love. God of Comfort. Holy. Just. Righteous.
Thanks flows from a heart that sees and rests in Him. And THAT is the essence of the last verse: the will of God for you in Christ Jesus! Jesus came that we would have abundant life. JOY is the flavor of that life.
God’s desire is for you to have joy in Christ Jesus. If your life does not taste like joy, talk with one who spends time in the presence of the GREAT GOOD GOD of Scripture.