In today’s Chaplain Corner we are going to look at a brief, yet wonderful, passage of Scripture in Thessalonians. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Thessalonica, located in Greece. At the close of this letter, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul gives this challenge: 16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The first challenge is to rejoice always. This is an attitude, not merely an emotion. Our emotions are dictated by our circumstance. Our attitude is a picture of the heart. No matter what the circumstances in my life happen to be, I can rejoice in them. This does not mean I don’t experience hurt, sadness, pain, anger, or happiness. It does mean that those outward expressions may be for a season, but the attitude of my heart is still rejoicing in Jesus and the hope He gives.
The next challenge is to pray without ceasing. Again, this is an attitude of the heart. This is an attitude of being in constant and continual communication with God. There are times when I pray focused prayers communicating and listening to God. The rest of the time I should be able to be in consistent communication with God, talking to Him throughout the day, listening to Him speak to my heart, and being aware of His presence in my life.
The final challenge is to give thanks in everything. Once again, this is an attitude issue. I must be able to have a grateful heart. I must be able to live my life in gratitude, instead of living my life griping about what I don’t have or complaining about the negative things of my life.
These three things are God’s will for each of us. These three things are only accomplished through Jesus Christ. We may not always feel like rejoicing, praying, or being thankful. But we can always surrender to the One who wants to live out those attitudes through our lives. The key is not our resolve. The key is Jesus. The key is surrendering to Jesus, reading the Bible daily, praying and growing in our faith.