From time to time most serious committed Christians will be wrestling with the question, how can I be living in the will of God for my life?
Some of the struggle sometimes comes from not knowing what the will of God is for us. This has to be resolved with some prophetic directives and encouragements from fellow believers and through the personal prayer of the individual. But the other side of the struggle comes when we do know His will, but struggle to know how to live in it all the time.
You will know where you’re at with either of these two scenarios. I can’t deal with the first one here of course, except to reassure every Christian that God has a plan for their life, whoever they are. But for the second scenario, God gave me a little key a few days ago which has helped me to focus a bit on how to walk in His purposes for my life. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It’s so simple, yet the things that Paul mentions are so huge as to how they pertain to our lives. I don’t doubt that most serious Christians would agree that rejoicing, praying and giving of thanks are pretty key elements to the Christian life. Notice that all of them, Paul says, are to be going on perpetually: rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and in everything giving thanks. Now that’s pretty serious. Psalm 146:2 contains similar injunctions, saying “I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” For this Psalmist praise was connected to their life. If they were alive, then they were going to praise!
So it should be, I believe, for us. We might be doing a whole bunch of other things but these three must stay central to whatever we’re doing, regardless of the circumstances.
Notice the phrase “for this is the will of God for you…” It’s tremendously helpful when the Bible tells us straight, what the will of God is for us. It is His desire that you should keep joy, prayer and thankfulness central to your life! I believe also, however, that holding these three as the constants in our lives, will help us to keep walking in the will of God for our own lives, individually. I believe they provide sufficient spiritual strength to endure through every trial and encounter.
I like that joy and rejoicing is in there, because I like joy, I like rejoicing. It’s a shame but, I don’t see enough Christians REALLY rejoicing. Do a Biblical study on ‘joy’ and ‘rejoicing’ and so on – you may be staggered at what you find. I have been finding it is an absolutely key expression of our Christianity, and not only that but is the strength (Neh 8:10) we need to endure.
Prayer. “What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, nothing more.” Whoever said this (I forget), couldn’t have spoken a truer word. I have recently studied in depth some of the great heroes of prayer. Truly, without a deep, focussed prayer life, we will achieve nothing noteworthy for the Lord.
Giving thanks. “But what if there’s nothing to be thankful for?” First of all – there is. Creation, salvation, breathing air. There’s a place to start! But I think before long you might be able to think of a few more things in your own life to thank God for. Even if He hasn’t done anything (seemingly) around you for a long time, giving thanks at least for the things that are and have been already, will help you to cultivate an heart of faith for Him to come and do more in your life again, which the rejoicing and prayer will help sustain!
So remember, whatever else you’re doing in your life and walk with God:
REJOICE – PRAY – GIVE THANKS