By Adron Robinson
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, ESV).
We cannot control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we respond to what happens to us. The Apostle Paul knew this to be true, so he gives us three ways to live a thankful life.
First, be joyful. The apostles did not encourage believers to live in denial. We are never to deny the fact that trials, tribulations, and adversities bring us pain and grief, but the child of God must recognize that in the midst of trials, tribulations, and adversities, the presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit gives us reason for joy.
We can rejoice despite our circumstances because God is in control!
Second, be prayerful. The second command to pray is the foundation for the first command of joy and the last command to be thankful. Paul knows that in order to obey either we have to be praying people. Oftentimes our circumstances can cause us to abandon prayer, but if you don’t feel joy, pray! If you don’t see anything to be thankful about, pray! Let nothing stop you from praying!
Finally, Paul tells us to be thankful. It is the will of God that Christians be thankful, but we aren’t commanded to be thankful for everything, we are commanded to give thanks in everything. We cannot control our circumstances, but whatever the circumstance, we have reasons to thank God.
PRAYER PROMPT: Father, we thank you for your promise never to leave us or forsake us. And because of your presence we can be thankful in all things. Thank you for salvation, thank you for life eternal, and thank you for the gift of today. Help us, Lord, to live thankful lives, being grateful for all that you have given us through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adron Robinson is pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills and president of the Illinois Baptist State Association.