“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Turning this into a scripture affirmation might read something like this: “I now rejoice, pray, and give thanks at all times and in all circumstances, as I understand that this is God’s good and gracious will for me in Christ Jesus.”
Often people wonder, how can I know God’s will for me specifically? The first order of business is that it begins with the foregoing, which reflects an attitude of surrender to God’s love and good which He would like to manifest to us. But it cannot happen if we’re always fighting Him in attitude, word, and deed. It begins with surrender – a surrender to divine love!
The foregoing passage considers this view – with our eyes ever toward the Lord. Not on self, not on circumstances. Coming before Him in praise, prayer, and gratitude – rather than with demands that everything must change, or we’re going to be unhappy, disgruntled, and hold to a glum outlook – is the way to a life of overcoming, no matter what is going on around us.
Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, or think we don’t have, and feeling sorry for ourself, He directs us instead to choose to enter into His Presence – where we can spiritually and emotionally transcend not only faulty and limited perceptions, but also perhaps even circumstances and seemingly impossible conundrums. He calls us to reign in Him as He invites us to the view of His perspectives. He invites us to come away from whining to the overflowing new wine in His Spirit!
This is one of the major reasons our Lord Jesus ransomed us by His precious blood and offers restoration through His Holy Spirit in all who receive Him: so that we may enter into our Father’s all powerful Presence in any and every circumstance.
The Way in Christ Jesus, revealed to us in the Holy Scripture, is not the way of force; it is the way of our unconditional surrender to His unconditional Love!
Over the years I have noticed that as I consciously remember to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances, that these simple acts of acknowledgement of God omnipotent have never failed to turn things around. Whether I’m beset by some dark mood, or finding myself in some sort of circumstantial bind – when I practice these things, the Lord Himself shows up on the scene (most likely through the powerful intervention of His angels). And once more I‘m reminded that no darkness can stand in His presence!
Life can be like a classroom where children await the arrival of the teacher. There are always some who want to make a fuss, bully other kids, throw papers, books and erasers all over, and the like. Yet when the door swings open and the teacher who carries actual authority in his or her presence walks in, law and order resume, and an atmosphere conducive to learning commences.
It is the same when we rejoice, pray, and give thanks at all times. As we are caught up in the Lord in Spirit, God’s authority is called in, and circumstances are brought into alignment with Him. Things that appear as a threat may be somehow transcended, or even terminated. What is revealed is that to rejoice, pray, and give thanks are powerful weapons for powerful spiritual warfare. And we begin to understand that resistance is futile; surrender to the Divine is everything.
Enter the current global landscape. Could it be that the keys to our responding to unfolding events may be that of continual rejoicing, prayer, and gratitude – although circumstances may externally be less than conducive to these “responses”? Could it be that many have wandered off into the worldly and carnal way of “force” – consisting of “guts, guns, and glory” – rather than approaching matters in light of His directives? Has much of Christendom yet to learn to access the power of the Lord with His approaches rather than by the reactionary thinking the world uses?
These endless cycles of reaction are the cause of current effects unfolding. In order to turn it around, the cause must be that of positive creative change through the creative process of choosing to rejoice, pray, and give thinks without ceasing!
As a result of the failure to approach life His way, so many find themselves mired down in turmoil and strife, from personal to political levels. Might we rather consider that adherence to His directives, rather than the world mind, may be the only thing which will save the day?
The sooner we (whom He called the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and the city set on a hill) learn this, putting into practice His way of approaching life – the more quickly we will understand and realize (make real) that we can and must “rise above” circumstance, by entering into His Presence with thanksgiving, prayer, and praise, right here and right now.
Let us endeavor to make it so! Let us no longer curse the darkness, but instead be His light!
Originally published on my website: