As I’ve been reading through the Bible lately, I keep running across verse after verse exhorting Christian to do particular things always – not just some of the time, when its easy, or when we can find time to block it into our schedule, but always. Maybe they stand out to me because, if I’m honest, they’re not on my always list. I always wear clothes when I leave the house – no problem, you can count on it to be my continual habit. I will put on the clothes. But am I joyful all the time? Am I praying regularly throughout my day? Would God, family, friends, and coworkers describe me as a someone who has a spirit of gratitude about them?
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 New International Version (NIV)
Now, easy does it, my self-condemning, performing-for-the-love-of-Jesus friends (a club of which I have had a membership and sometimes still sneak in the back door). This is not a post about creating a list of to do’s to add to our spiritual radar in the hopes of God loving us more. He loves you, He saw it all and choose the cross because he has ALWAYS loved you and his love will never end (Romans 5:8; Jeremiah 31:3). So shut it.
This is about living the abundant life — this is about taking the instructions of God’s word in order to live our best life possible. God wants us to be joyful all the time, talk to him throughout our day, and be thankful people. This is about being happier everyday because we are filled with joy regardless of our circumstances. It’s not about trying to babble at God all day long, but about building genuine relationship — through prayer — with the Living God, Creator of the Universe. It’s about more of a Him focus and less of a me focus as I stand in awe and gratitude at who He is and all He has given me.
I’ve included some verses on the topics of rejoicing, praying, and being thankful as encouragement to myself and others. It’s simple but true; these things should be defining characteristics of our walk with God. They will bless us, bless others, and bring greater glory to God!
Always be joyful. – 1 Thes. 5: 16
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Phil 4:4
Never stop praying. – 1 Thes. 5: 17
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.- Romans 12:12
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. – Eph 6:18
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thes 5:18
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. – Psalm 34:1
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – Eph 5:20
And as a sweet reminder, of the beautiful rest and surrender we have in God (a great thing to be joyful, thankful, and prayful about):
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10