Happy New Year! I hope that your 2019 will be great. Of course, there will be some struggle points, but overall, I hope you will be healthy, happy and well. Above all, I hope that you will grow in your relationship with Jesus. To that end, and toward a happier and healthier 2019, I want to share a significant section of Scripture.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:16-18 (NLT)
These three things are critical to our life and well-being … and our faith!
“Be joyful!” We don’t always feel like being joyful, but we always have that choice. Choose joy instead of wallowing in the saddest things and dwelling on the frightening things. But how can we do that? I think these verses point us toward two key issues:
“Never stop praying.” Take all the painful, frightening, difficult, joy-stealing thinks in your world and lift them to God in prayer. Through prayer, give them to the only One who has the power to solve the BIG problems in life. Also, …
“Be thankful in all circumstances”because gratitude is powerful. So powerful, that once we have turned the hard stuff over to God, gratitude makes us feel good about our life and circumstances because we remember the things for which we are grateful! It changes our whole perspective!
However, what amazes me most about these three, short verses is the part that I underlined above. “…this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Many of us spend a lot of time and emotional effort trying to figure out what God’s will is for our lives. What if it isn’t that hard? What if all the decisions about relationships, schools, jobs, where we live, and all the rest of life are not God’s priority for us. After all, He can bless us in all those choices.
God’s priority IS us. He sent Jesus to re-connect us to Himself. He wants a relationship with us. The real issue is our attitude and awareness. A relationship where there is trust (prayer) and appreciation (gratitude) is a healthy one. That is EXACTLY what God wants to have with us. So, the way I think about it is, if I am praying and grateful, I will see God’s blessings in my life, and that will result in praise. And when we are praising God, we are in the center of His will for us.