Have you ever noticed how some always seem to be so upbeat and positive? It is not because everything is going great in their life, or that things are necessarily going better for them than everybody else. No, it is because they choose to be that way. They decide to look for reasons to be happy and to focus on the good things. In doing so they attract more of the same. It doesn’t just happen; they make it happen.
This is how Paul teaches us to live our lives. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). As a Christian we have every reason in the world to rejoice; today, tomorrow and every day. If, we choose to focus on the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ. He has blessed us with the forgiveness of our sins, salvation from the bondage, guilt, and condemnation of sin, power over the temptations we face, strength to endure the trials of life, love that surpasses knowledge, peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable and full of glory, and hope eternal. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
One of the greatest blessings that Paul mentions here is prayer. He reminds us not to take that privilege for granted. We can talk to God about anything at any time. Yet, I am afraid that some Christians have quit talking to God and are merely “saying prayers”. There is a difference in mouthing words and truly communicating from the heart. What a difference this can make in your life. Not just spending some quiet time with God but conversing with Him throughout your day. Jesus teaches us to never give up on prayer, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart…” (Luke 18:1). Paul teaches us to never quit praying, “Continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12) and “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
When you pray, don’t forget to give thanks. Too many of our prayers are for God to do something we want instead of thanking Him for all He does. Be thankful for what God has done, is doing and will do, “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). In everything give thanks. There is a silver lining to every cloud. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). God loves you now as He did when He gave His Son for you and He will love you forever. Counting your many blessings will increase your faith in God and reassure your heart before Him.
Rejoice, pray, and give thanks every day. In doing all this, you will be doing the will of God. This is what makes us happy; to know that we are pleasing God, fulfilling His purposes, living for His glory. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). That’s what will put a spring back in your step and a smile on your face for everybody to see. It will make others smile and God smile, too.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135