If there were three simple things you could do to ease your mind and heart, grow closer to God and increase your joy, how fast would you run toward them?
How could anything that would deliver such blessings be simple?
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 New International Version
When someone very close to me passed away, I was not joyful about the death. Because of the Lord’s mercy in answering countless prayers, my family and I were able to focus on God’s blessings even during the grieving period . . . and even to this day as we grieve in a different way.
Certainly the circumstances of life don’t always lend themselves to rejoicing but we always have a choice on which perspective we will take. Up or down. Joy or sadness. It is a choice.
Thankfully every day is not defined by tragedy. Perhaps we should begin to be more faithful at rejoicing on these days and allow God to help us during the most difficult days with this challenge.
Consider how your life would be different if you were to make it a practice to rejoice, to think on things that bring you joy. “Lord, I rejoice that You are a God of Love.” “Lord, I am joyful that You have given me __________.” “Lord, help me focus on rejoicing!”
What’s the first step for you in making a habit of rejoicing?
A minister made this easier for me to grasp when he paraphrased it this way — “Stay in touch with God”.
We are bombarded with messages about staying in touch. How many times a day do we check social media, emails, texts? How much time do we spend in conversation on the phone or in-person? What if we were to spend this much effort staying in touch with God?
Imagine how much peace we could have if we were to take our cares to the Father instead of pondering them over and over and over. Consider how much more focused we would be if we were to seek His wisdom by praying over decisions instead of reacting to life’s challenges immediately. What if praying continually would help us grasp more fully the concept that our God is a loving Father?
One of my challenges of praying throughout the day is remembering to do so. It takes practice!
What’s the first step for you in making a habit of staying in touch with God?
Give thanks in all circumstances
We are not told to give thanks FOR all circumstances. Jesus specifically said we would have trouble in this world. But is there anything for which we can choose to be thankful — even in the midst of trouble? And like the discussion about joy, let’s realize that most days are not full of trouble and begin by practicing the discipline of giving thanks on most days.
When I focus on the spiritual blessings, people, situations and things for which I am thankful, my mind and heart are happy. Why not choose to focus on these things instead of negative, hurtful or even painful thoughts?
What’s your first step in creating a habit of giving thanks?
When we rejoice, pray, and give thanks, our spirit has an opportunity to rise above the hurtful and ugly things in this life. Our minds and hearts are more at ease, we grow closer to God, and our joy is increased. Will you or I allow anything to keep us from running toward God in these ways?
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that your Word gives life!