“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
To simply “decide to be happy“ no matter what’s going on in your life would be shallow and dim-witted. Sometimes hard and painful things come our way. Are we supposed to just be happy, even then? Or are we supposed to just pretend to be happy even when our heart is breaking? Does that please God?
It would make no sense at all unless there’s something else going on that enables this kind of response, so that we can actually rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances.
If we know that God is truly in control, that His loving care for us never fails, and that He is accomplishing His good and loving purpose in our life no matter what happens, then it does make sense.
That’s why in between “rejoice always” and “give thanks in all circumstances” comes the other exhortation, “pray without ceasing.” As we put our life’s events in His hands and in prayer entrust everything to His care, joy and thankfulness fill our hearts, even in the most painful of circumstances.
And that’s what God wants: hearts full of faith, gratitude, and joy. “This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Pastor Dan Giles