“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 THESSALONIANS 5: 16-18
We talked earlier about praising God in all circumstances, 24/7/365. Along with that comes thanking Him in all circumstances, 24/7/365. God puts us in situations that will forge us in the fire so we can be molded into people He wants us to become. Sometimes those situations are smooth. But in some of the situations, there will be opposition and as they say the going gets tough. This is when the challenge begins.
The verse today comes from what many believe to be one of the earliest letters from Paul. He and Silas had visited Thessalonica where there were many conversions to Christianity. A huge following began to gather and worship in the name of Jesus. Well, this was good but the situation soon turned to much opposition. Jewish leaders became jealous and Gentile leaders felt threatened that these new converts were defying Caesar when they proclaimed Jesus as the one true king and they feared the wrath of Rome.
So, we see the brand new church but we also see the beginning of persecution against the Christians. Yet, despite the persecution, the believers at Thessalonica continued to stand firm in their faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:7-8 7Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the LORD.”
Standing in their faith in the face of persecution is living the belief of giving thanks in ALL circumstances. Paul in this letter, and throughout a lot of his writings has this similar theme.
Paul encourages them and us to live respectfully, peacefully, and kindly. In today’s verse, Paul admonishes them to be joyful always, pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances. Now who better with the authority and experience to talk the talk and walk this walk than Paul. He had seen both the good and what I consider the very bad. REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION, he thanked God……IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.
The verses today are one long sentence and I read that to say that those 3 components all go together. Permanent joy….Continual prayer…..Constant thankfulness. Paul says all these actions are God’s will for the people at Thessalonica and for us today.
What season are you in right now. Smooth sailing? Or Ominous storms? If you are in those storms season giving thanks may be the last thing on your mind. How many times have we….ME…said something like “If you only knew what I was going through…..” Paul may not know our particular story….but the HOLY SPIRIT does. Hardships are where some of the best lessons we learn are that we would otherwise, never learn. GIVE THANKS 24/7/365!!
“I thank God for protecting me from what I thought I wanted and blessed me with what I did not know I needed.”