Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sometimes life feels like it is bigger than we can handle. I was thinking about this verse the other day. If we want to know how to maneuver through this world and live in God's will, here is the formula:
1) Be joyful always--I don't know about you, but I don't always live joyfully. Sometimes I am even downright cranky and complaintive. For instance, right now we are in the middle of a home remodel. I should be joyful that we are able to do these projects. I should be content that we have a place to stay during the process. I should rejoice each day in the progress. Instead, I get irritated at the delays. I grumble about the excess dust. I pine for my old house. I have really been trying to live out this formula for living. When I turn my attitude around, it affects everyone in a positive way. My husband, the workers, my friends, all benefit from this simple action. Wearing a smile, looking at the good in my life, verbalizing the positive is all part of what pleases God.
2) Pray continually--This doesn't mean my eyes are closed all day or I isolate myself in my bedroom and stay on my knees. It does mean that I am in a constant attitude of prayer. Someone cuts me off on the road, I pray for them. I get good news about my son's job, I pray for his new responsibilities. I receive news that my friend's husband has had an accident. I pray. It doesn't matter what comes our way, we should be in prayer. Whether making major or minor decisions, God is ready to guide. When going to and fro in our daily chores, God has the divine appointments set before us if we go through our day prayerfully. Praying continually should be a habit of our life, like eating and breathing. As I have tried to instill this habit, it has made my life so much easier, and I am much more likely to be joyful...go figure!
3) Give thanks in all circumstances--Isn't this the same thing as number 1 above, you may ask? It may seem similar, but there is a distinct difference. As we make the first two a way of life, being joyful and praying, when we come to tough times, we have a new perspective. Notice it doesn't say to give thanks FOR all circumstances. Sometimes things happen in our lives that are just frustrating or even downright terrible. We can give thanks IN the midst of the storm. The other day I had the stomach flu. It was a 24 hour bug that had me bouncing between a headache, throwing up and sleeping. I was about to feel sorry for myself when I received a text from a friend requesting prayer for her husband's surgery on his leg that was broken. He was in great pain. To top it off, their insurance was not wanting to approve the procedure. I could see an end to my pain, so as I prayed for my friend, I also gave thanks for my temporary circumstance. That same day, I received another text from a friend and former employee of mine that she had been hired for a position that she had really wanted. I was so excited for her, and I sent her congratulations. At the same time, I knew this meant that another friend, who had applied for the same position (they didn't know each other), did not get the job. I thanked God for continuing to work in both of their lives in His own way and His own time.
So there you have it...just three simple things to remember to live in the center of God's will. You will be more productive, more content, and more at peace. You will be able to face the trials in your life through the eyes and heart of the God who is writing your story, knowing that you can consult the Author at any time!