“Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks…”

That’s a hard one, isn’t it? I can quote 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 as well as anyone. But putting those words into practice…well, sometimes that’s really hard.

Actually, I can easily do the “pray without ceasing” part. I’ve got that locked in. Life challenges keep me in a running conversation with the Lord.

But rejoicing? Giving thanks in everything? I struggle. Just being honest here…admitting I stumble over bumps on the path, trying to find a reason to rejoice and give thanks.

Learning to rejoice and give thanks by sheer determination of the will is changing me. Although that’s my desire, it’s complicated. First, I had to settle one major issue. Can I trust God?

Learning to rejoice and give thanks by sheer determination of the will is changing me. Although that’s my desire, it’s complicated. First, I had to settle one major issue. Can I trust God? Click To Tweet

If I can trust him, then I can rejoice and give thanks by sheer determination of the will.

Why would I not be able to trust God? Because the situation looks hopeless and I am helpless? All the more reason to trust God!

In Matthew 9 two blind men came to Jesus, “crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us…Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened…” (see verses 27-30).

“Do you believe I am able to do this?” The answer to his poignant question settles everything.

If I believe Christ is able to do what I need, I can trust him. If I don’t believe he is able, then I must look elsewhere. But where would I look?

Speaking to his disciples in John 6, Jesus said many followers had turned away.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (see verses 6:65-68).

Exactly. Have you settled the issue? Can you trust God? Let these verses encourage you.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth: and with my song I will praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

“But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me” (Psalm 31:14-15).

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Psalm 56:3).

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:9-10).

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3-4).

We can trust God! We can rejoice and give thanks!

Hard truth: if I rejoice and give thanks today, I must do it in my present circumstances. Not tomorrow or next week or in six months. Today. In my present circumstances.

Hard truth: if I rejoice and give thanks today, I must do it in my present circumstances. Not tomorrow or next week or in six months. Today. In my present circumstances. Click To Tweet

I told you it was complicated, but it’s rather simple. I choose to function by my will, not my feelings.

When I acknowledge that God is good, that he loves me, that his plan is in my best interest, and that I can trust him, I can choose to function by my will. I can praise and give thanks by faith, no matter what I’m feeling or not feeling,

First Thessalonians 5:16-18 shows us how to respond in every circumstance. Rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

What is the will of God? Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks.

If you need a reason, read through the book of Psalms and note everything the Lord has done for you. It will be a long list.

If your circumstances are bleak today, begin rejoicing and giving thanks by a sheer determination of the will. It looks like that’s what the Psalmist did.

I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live:

I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

My meditation of him shall be sweet:

I will be glad in the Lord.

(Psalm 104:33-34)

Sing praise! Be glad in the Lord! Your circumstances may not change…but you will.

Would you tell me about a time in a hard place when you rejoiced and gave thanks by decision? And please share this with your friends!

© Dianne Barker 2019

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