During this Thanksgiving season I would like to reflect upon a passage of Scripture found at the end of 1 Thessalonians, in 5:16-18, Paul writes “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
By PASTOR ED KVAALE
Here are three things that go together:
giving thanks in all circumstances.
During this season of reflecting on God’s blessings in our lives, (especially the gift of Jesus giving Himself to live a life of servanthood devoted to us and not to Himself) let us look at this passage and be reminded where true joy comes from and how we can give thanks through prayer and worship.
First, it is helpful to remember that happiness and joy are not the same. Happiness is based almost entirely on our circumstances and transient feelings. We are happy because of ______. Joy on the other hand can and should be present entirely because of the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit within our life. Joy is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Jesus, we are able to give thanks and rejoice always in Jesus no matter our circumstances. We rejoice in what Jesus has done for us, His great gift of salvation, and His many blessings. We worship and give thanks for what He has done and what He will do even in the midst of our difficulties and trials.
And most importantly, we pray, not 24 hours a day, seven days week, but whenever we have need and whenever we can. Jesus reminded us of our need to pray with persistence in Luke 18:1-8. Even in those moments when it seems like nothing is happening in our prayer life, Jesus is still working in our life and in the lives of others.
And lastly, maybe the hardest part of all, we are not to pray just for our own needs, but for the needs of those within our church, community, and world. Our prayerfulness matters. Because out of a heart of gratitude and thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us, we will pray that others might be blessed through us by Jesus using us, perhaps to answer the prayer of someone else. We have much to be thankful for, let us also show our gratitude to Jesus for what He has done for us by looking for ways that we can serve others. [Colossians 3:12-17].
Ed Kvaale serves as pastor of Bowman Assembly of God.