Day 9 – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 NIV

“To be thankful is a fruit of grace and is in contrast to the constant grumblings and ingratitude of a godless world.” T. Shenton

Paul presents us with something very rich here. Do you want to know the will of God for your life in Christ?
I can remember countless times in my own life where I was in pursuit of the “will of God”. I would seek Him, I would search the Scripture, I would wait and sometimes be disappointed because I didn’t feel like I still had clarity on His will. Yet, right here in the Word, we are told what the will of God is. Could it be that we look for the complicated because we reject the simplicity of this life transforming Word? Are we looking for something profound, when He is giving us keys that will unlock the doors to so many areas of our lives?
You see, my circumstances do not determine what is true. Truth will always be Truth regardless of what is unfolding in my life. Could Paul be offering me something to help me remain in Truth even when my natural circumstances scream at me a contradiction? I believe he is.
What I see here is that we are being called to this journey of trust. Our circumstances can be the quickest thing to reveal what is really happening in the heart, regardless of how well I am presenting myself externally. I can boldly declare that I trust God, but when my life is being shaken, am I shaken? Or can I believe Him and stay in peace?
If I truly trust Him, then I can give thanks in everything. I have heard a lot of debate on this topic. Many think it is ridiculous to believe that one could really give thanks in all things. However, if I believe that all things really do work together for good, can I really offer anything but thanks? If I believe that Word, then my present “challenge” only becomes a part of the good being worked out. I believe our lack of trust becomes exposed when our circumstances shake us. I can easily thank him for the roses, but what about the thorns?
Trusting gives us the ability to do the will of God. You and I can be joyful always, when we trust. If I look at my circumstances, I lose my joy. But I cannot be without joy and look upon the face of Jesus. It is all about my gaze. Joy was a mark of the early church, while enduring persecution. This tells me that my joy is not determined by my circumstances. They were God focused and could be joyful in all things because of Who they were looking at, not what they were looking at.
We are also told to pray continually. This is a call to cultivate a spirit of constant devotion so that our lives will overflow with the presence of God through our communion and union with Him. This life will be filled with gratitude.
For the believer there is no circumstance in which we cannot give thanks. Even the worst day, the worst news, we are more than conquerors in Christ. It is easy to complain, to murmur, but it takes true strength to be a man or woman who chooses to live the will of God by living a life of gratitude.

The will of God is not difficult….give thanks.

Today, I am grateful for Paul’s challenge. It reminds me that the grateful life will be a happy life. It will be a life lived in the will of God. A life that trust in all things, and can say, “it is well.” I am thankful for the people in my life who do their best to live this Word and trust God even in moments of great pain. Their lives have left an impact on mine.


  1. Reply
    Sue Holmes says:

    I love the simplicity of this verse. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
    Rejoice, pray and give thanks.
    I honestly have to say that it is the words in between that catch me up and become my stumbling block. Always. Continually. In all circumstances. Surely I’m not expected to give thanks during the worst times of my life! Oh yes, I am. The Word says so. And if for no other reason than that He requires it. He deserves it.
    But there are so many reasons. If I am sincerely seeking He is there to be found (Jer. 29:13). He is my shelter from the storms (Isaiah 25:4) He is my constant companion Who never fails (Heb. 13:5). He is my defender (Psalm 5:11). He is my Strong Tower providing safety (Prov. 18:10). The list could go on and on. There are more times than I would like to admit that I need to remind myself of these.
    Trust is something I struggle with. But trusting is the only way I truly see God at work in and through me. Taking that leap into what seems like a dark void, only to find out that He is there to catch me. Holding on to His promise that “it will be all right” when everything shouts the opposite.
    I’m reminded of these words from Hillsong’s “Dessert Song” …
    All of my life
    In every season
    You are still God
    I have a reason to sing
    I have a reason to worship
    … and I am thankful. Thankful that He has been there during every season. Even through the darkest season when I was sure He couldn’t stand to even look upon me. When I look back He was there. He was still God. He is still God and He will be. I give Him thanks today for the specifics in my life. I thank Him for working out the details. I thank Him for being God. I thank Him for being my God!
    I am thankful for a reason to worship in the middle of the storms.

    • Reply
      Freda says:

      The desert song really does say it all doesn’t it Sue. In every season. Always a reason. Thanks for that. 🙂

  2. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    These verses were put to the test for me this week -being thankful for everything and in everything can be something we know in our heads but when a crisis happens,our hearts truely get tested in this. Before Freda wrote this tonight, I have been dealing with this very issue and the Lord revealed to me that I have problems with trust. When I was in Nursing school many years ago,I learned about Maslow’s need hierarchy. He postulates that we go through stages in life and we have tasks to accomplish before we can pass on to the next stage and there is always a need to be met before the next stage. The very first stage in infancy is to learn to trust-if we do not learn to trust that our basic needs will be met by our caregivers,we will have issues with trust in our lives. I don’t know how much truth we can take from that but it does remind me that this is a most basic need for humans-to be able to trust. But as Christians this is also a very basic concept-we must learn to trust-trust that God loves us and that He is faithful to his promises, to His purposes and most importantly to His people. When circumstances shake our lives and cause us to question where God is and what He is doing and why He has allowed this, our trust in God is being tested. Do we trust God in the things we may understand and question Him in those things we don’t?? Trust is an absolute must -it is the foundation upon which our faith grows. Trusting when we can’t see the next step means stepping out in faith and taking that next step knowing that God has prepared that next step beforehand. The evidence that we have trust occurs when we are able to consistantly thank God in ALL circumstances-no matter what we see or understand- being grateful that He knows and sees and understands when we don’t and trusting Him-being thankful that He is our Daddy and He will catch us when we are falling and direct us when we are in a storm. He is in control when we feel out of control. He has allowed this trial for a purpose that we may not see but we will trust Him in it in spite of it and will thank Him in it-regardless the feelings that overwhelm our hearts and take our very breath from us. Thank you Lord for answers to prayer granted to me this day and thank you for what I have learned in this trial and for what you are doing-thank you that you know what you are doing and that I have finally learned to accept that and let go of my need to know everything and to control everything. Thank you Lord that Your way is the best way and that this fact has become real to me on a much deeper level this week. Thank you that I have learned that sometimes we need to go back to the basics to get to the root of the problem and acknowledge our need and before we can move forward in our faith.

    • Reply
      Freda says:

      Thank you for sharing this Susan. Loved how you expressed this. He really is our Daddy and can be trusted. We praise God for the answered prayer as well. He was never absent in any moment. What a Great God.

  3. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    I Think some people never sleep 🙂 2am!! Lol I surely hope your sleep was sweet when it came.
    How many times have I said over and over again, “Oh I wish I knew the will of God for this situation!” And all I had to do was see really see these verses and there it is 🙂 Now I know I am in Christ Jesus and He dwells in me because I have seen those verses and believed them, so they have become my testimony. Definitely got that part :). These verses are therefore, for me!
    Rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in ALL circumstances, what can I say about these things? Are they me, am I living in the will of God, and not even realizing it? Does ALL mean all, like even such heart dropping news as “you have cancer, or your daughter has died!” Or does it just mean give thanks when you burn the supper or dye your husbands underwear pink? Hum, I wonder??
    So I looked up ALL and guess what it means ALL! Ok now I have settled that, do I do these verses or do I read them, agree with them and then continue to grumble and complain about everything; never taking such silly things to God because He is too busy running the universe to be bothered by such trivial things.
    Well good news people I have lived these verses by choice not even realizing I was living in the centre of His will for such a time as that. 🙂
    It was 2009-2010 and I had some very hard choices to make, some in my control and some not. My sweet little baby Bella had to go back into a situation I was not comfortable with, my husband and I were separated and reconciliation was not on his table (nor would it ever be), my oldest daughter died of a heart attack, my great-grandson was born with a cleft pallet, the two foster daughters I had for seven years wanted to move to another foster home to be with their older sister who had just been placed in foster care. I could no longer afford my half of the mortgage or the van payment. And the one that hurt the worse was I could no longer lead a table at the ladies Bible study. The one bright light was God had placed a baby boy in my home to hold and hug and care for. What to do? Oh! What to do?
    Somehow as I sat looking out my living room window talking to God I was able to hear “You can do it with a smile on your face or you can do it grumbling and complaining about it all. The choice is yours.”
    As I sat there I knew all I had to do. I had to move to an apartment, take public transportation and be extra careful with my finances so I could are for that beautiful baby boy. And I decide to do it rejoicing. Why? Because I knew I needed God’s strength. So I began the process. My husband wanted to take the house and van payments over so he moved into the house and I moved to a lovely apartment looking over a mall and a busy corner. Lots to look at! God gave me wisdom on how to manage my finances and when things piled up He gave me extra children to care for so I would have the extra money to clear the arrears. And taking public transit became so enjoyable as I watched that sweet baby boy communicate with grumpy old ladies until they smiled and talked back. And if they didn’t, no problem he talked to the lady in the speaker announcing the next stop.:)
    I can remember a friend asking me how I could be so happy with all the losses and difficulties I was going through and I had to stop for a moment to think “what am I going through?” All the time no matter what; the circumstances do not have victory over you, you can have victory them in Christ Jesus. During this time I found that the smallest act of kindness brought out over flowing thanksgiving and joy. Although they came by way of people I knew they were straight from the hand of God. I think it was during this time true thanksgiving was birthed in me and even today I am just so thankful, most that God loves me. Praying without stopping is right up my alley 🙂 Now instead of talking to myself and having lots of pity parties where I am the only guest I talk to God. Some would not call it prayer but I do because prayer is communication with God; right? So we communicate through a little singing and dancing together and sometimes He even picks the song 🙂 Lots of times during the day we will have a little joke about something that can make me laugh at how much fun I have with Him. There is always times when we talk about needs, requests and concerns. And then there are times like now when He shows me something in the Word that brings me closer to Him and His love for me.
    I am so thankful God is a real person, ready to enjoy my company. His blessings are wonderful. Most days I do not walk with God but I soar far above every situation, assured I have left it in good hands. Yes today I choose to rejoice and be thankful in all my circumstances as I remain in His presence, for He is the wind under my wings!

    • Reply
      Susan Craig says:

      That was beautiful Pat!! Touched my heart especially the part that describes our God as being the wind beneath your wings! 🙂

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