God’s will. It’s something we’ve heard in our Christian lives for years to come. “What is God’s will for my life?” And so we pray whether we are to work here or do this, move here or buy that. Oftentimes we are seeking God for God’s will and this is a good thing. Because we really do want to have our lives led by God’s best. This time of seeking God’s will is spoken of on several occasions throughout Scripture (Ex 18:15; Acts 18:21; Rom 1:10).
But there is another part of God’s will that we hardly speak about, and that is the will of God for the kind of life that we live. And look here at what God’s will is for us:
“Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (5:16-17)
It is God’s will for me that I will be joyful, live in continuous prayer, and am thankful in all things. Want to know God’s will for your life? There it is. Pretty amazing.
God first and foremost wants me to be joyful. He works for our joy. Even in our hardships. Joy isn’t just having life go perfect and no heartache, but it’s the place of resting in God’s care for us.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12:2)
Joy makes life buoyant even in the most difficult of times. “Be joyful in hope,” Paul says. “Be joyful always.” That coming from the stylus of a man who is writing to a group of believers in Thessalonika that were undergoing “severe suffering” (1 Thess 1:6). In fact he says of them, “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out” (1 Thess 1:14-15). And to them he writes, “Be joyful always.” He had been there and suffered with them. He understood, and knew that even in this the joy of the Lord would be their strength (Neh 8:10).
When I was in college I learned to turn my thoughts into prayers. And I realize it is actually possible when your thoughts are in prayers to pray continuously. The problem is that everyone thinks I’m talking to myself all the time. I’m actually praying.
“Give thanks in all circumstances.”
Again this written by a man whose fingers might have been dripping with blood from the last beating on to the parchment as he writes this. Paul makes it clear that there is never a situation in which we cannot thank God. In all circumstances we are to thank God.
A New Day
Imagine today if you pursued joy all day. You prayed continuously in prayer, praise and petition. And you found a reason to give thanks in all circumstances. What a different day we have before us. In fact, science confirms that through neuroplasticity, that joy, prayer and thanksgiving actually literally and physically rewire our brains. It’s just the way God made it for us. Because he wants us to know the fullness of him in all things, in all situations, in all ways.