BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY: Always be cheerful; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for such is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A skipped verse in 1 Thessalonians
By Laura McCorkle
Today’s verse is the one I like to jump into my Bible, even though it is highlighted. And underlined. And on a dog-eared page.
You see, every time I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, I can’t help but think: Oh good? ALWAYS be happy? And how am I supposed to pray CONTINUALLY? And give thanks in ALL circumstances? Who can do all THAT?
I’m sure you probably have a verse or two that you really don’t like to read or ruminate on either. But,convenientlyGod ordained it so I had plenty of opportunities to put my skipped verse into action last week…
- When I said “hello… how are you?” passing by an acquaintance and was greeted with a cold “hello” and an “I’m fine” in response. Ouch. Where is the joy here? What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment? Why doesn’t this person like me?
- When it was funny, but definitely mean, words would come out of my mouth at someone else’s expense and their feelings. Why, oh WHY, did I do this just so I could laugh at them? And feel better about myself? Of course, I wasn’t praying while saying.
- When a friend’s van, which she had just pumped a few thousand dollars into for repairs a few weeks earlier, was pronounced “dead” by mechanics. How could we be happy in this kind of circumstance? I want to salute these mechanics with a “holy punch” in his name. Argh!
- When people are difficult just to be difficult and disagree with every fact or opinion you might share. You say black. They say white. You say grey. They say plaid. Ugh! Am I supposed to be grateful for this? Isn’t there another way to learn humility? ‘Cause I’d be so grateful if it was a different circumstance, Lord.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, folks. At least for me it is. Sure, it’s easy to be joyful, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all things when life is going well, when everyone is your best friend, and when (usually material) blessings are raining down.
But what about when you’ve had a week like I just had? How are you supposed to live like this?
I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).
This is the key. God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is the one who gives me strength and helps me to live this way. And this is the kind of life that God wants for his children. He is his will for us, not ours. And it’s this what pleases him.
Please don’t skip 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 like I usually do. Let it give you pause and take some time to assess your current attitude. What or who prevents you from rejoicing, not praying and not giving thanks? Ask the Lord to soften your heart and change your attitude. He doesn’t want to jump on you. And if you wish, thanks to YOU, it can work wonders!
Editor’s Note: This content was adapted from the original article “Skipping & Tripping: Two Takes on 1 Thessalonians 5” which can be read in full here.
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