“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”
Christian life is an adventurous journey through mountains and valleys, wilderness and green pastures, and often a delicate balance between moments of doubts and unshakeable faith. As we grow in the Lord and long to listen to Him, we keenly seek to know the will of God in our lives. At the verge of taking any life-changing decisions, be it choosing an academic discipline, career, life-partner, future ventures etc, it becomes crucial for most of us to know if it falls within the will of God. The long wait, indecisiveness, dilemmas, uncertainty of God’s response in the given situation causes emotional and spiritual struggles. When monotony rules life and when other pressures challenge to replace my time with God, I agitate to know if I am in tune with the Master’s will. I keep pleading the Lord to reveal His will to me and not to estimate what favours my liking to be His will. I come across so many friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours and children who are equally concerned to know what God’s will for their life is. That’s when this verse chosen for this month’s meditation brought a response to my prayer of longing.
There are three challenging lifestyle changes that is demanded of us. Though advocated by Paul as a spiritual parent to the Thessalonians, I believe these for sure are the will of God concerning you and me. The first among the three lifestyle changes is “Practicing to Rejoice always”. Moods, situations, people hugely influence our joy and it is extremely difficult to rejoice always. The Bible documents the incident of a mother who after a long wait bore a son, only to see him die in 2 Kings 4:8-37. This Shunammite woman must have gone through moments of uncertainty, agonizing pain and an emotional low, yet she musters all her courage to say “It is well”. If she could manage to remain confident, keep the actual situation a secret and confess things are well, we also need to practice to Rejoice always. The second lifestyle change is to “Pray continually”. When we are in a very close relationship with someone, we tend to stay connected with them through all means. If Jesus is received within our hearts as a close friend, we ought to stay connected with Him always. Prayer is not always a petition submitted in times of need or a praise when we receive a blessing, instead, it is a personal bond. Paul himself sets an example and is a role-model for building a life of prayer. Praying at all times is the will of God for you and me. The third lifestyle change is to give thanks in everything. There is a very subtle information that is carried in this part of the verse when it states “In everything give thanks”. Many a time as believers, we try hard to focus on the good part of a circumstance and give thanks. By the inclusion of the word “everything”, it means we ought to give thanks for the bad things that have happened to us as well. As simple as it might seem, it is almost impossible to thank God for our humiliations, losses, distresses, pains, disappointments, sicknesses and blames. What a strength Job should have possessed to even say “The Lord gave it and the Lord has taken away” Job 1:21. We read about these great men of God, conduct character study on them and admire these heroes of the Bible. On the contrary, each of us is called to implement such sort of lifestyle, because these are God’s will for our lives.
As we begin a new month, as children of God who have been revealed what God’s will for our life is, may we start practising these? As we remember and cherish the great contributions of the most admired evangelist Billy Graham who has left his earthly abode a week ago, may we also remember his words that say, “The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.” Therefore, my dear friends, let us set our targets based on God’s standards and his expectations of us, and seek diligently the grace of God in executing His will in our lives.