Article: It is Your Choice

The earliest writings in the New Testament come from Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. We commonly call it 1Thessalonians. Most agree it was written somewhere close to 50AD. Less than 20 years after the resurrection of Jesus.

If you read this short letter, you will see the affection Paul has for the members of this church. He is encouraging them to stay strong in their relationship with Jesus. Near the end of the letter, Paul writes this…

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18

This seems like a tall order, but not impossible. If it is God’s will, Jesus will give the power to live into that reality.

Let’s look at each part…

Be joyful always…

In Philippians Paul writes a lot about joy. We learn that joy is tied to our relationship with Jesus and it is not external events. Happiness is derived from positive life events.

If you aren’t joyful, ask yourself, “How is your relationship with Jesus these days?”

Pray continually…

Prayer is less about requests and more about your connection to God. If you aren’t joyful most of the time, then praying should help increase the quotient of joy in your life. Regular prayer or should I say, routine check-ins with Jesus will help you navigate the ups and downs of life with more joy. Do you want to be less moody? Pray more.

Give thanks in all situations…

Gratitude for God’s grace is good for your soul. Even in the darkest moments, giving thanks for the strength that Jesus provides is not only possible but good for us. Gratefulness keeps life and its challenges in perspective. Even when we lose someone we love, being thankful for your faith and the gift of heaven will help you move through the deepest of grief.

It is easy to let circumstances dictate your temperament. It is simple to let your prayer life vanish when you are busy or resentful and it takes very little effort to point out what is wrong in your life and the world versus giving thanks for the gift of Jesus.

What will you focus on? It is your choice.

God bless,
Pr. Ben