Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians (NLT) 5:16-18
I don’t know about you, but I wish the Lord had not put that word always in this verse. How can anyone always be anything, let alone joyful? Maybe the key to success is found in the next sentence. Keep on praying. Prayer certainly helps us to be joyful. How can we not be joyful when we are in the presence of the Lord? Now, I am not talking about what often passes for prayer. Prayer that causes us to be joyful is unhurried and it is focused solely on who the Lord is. It is time spent enjoying the presence of Christ and lingering to get to know Him better. It is not what we normally do. We have our own agendas and when we are done, we hurry on to the next thing. We don’t like staying in our prayer closets any longer than we have to. When was the last time you simply waited on the Lord without an agenda? Is it any wonder joyfulness escapes us?
We need to learn how to linger in God’s presence. We need to learn how to not be time conscious when we pray. The busier our lives become, the more time we should be spending in prayer. The more complicated our lives become, the more time we should be spending in prayer.
Always be thankful. The more we value life in Christ, the more thankful we will be. We live like it is not that big of a deal. We carry the Lord around like added baggage to an already full life. We often fail to stop in awe at the life we have in Him, except for maybe at Christmas and Easter time. We scarcely pause to worship Him in love and adoration. We get so caught up into life that we neglect our appreciation for eternal life. We are created in Christ Jesus for worship, thanksgiving, and praise.
We are created in Christ Jesus through faith for fellowship and fruitfulness. Without faith there is no fellowship and without fellowship, there is no real faith.
- Jim Hughes