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Summary: Developing eight habits. 1. Rejoice always 2. Pray without ceasing 3. Give thanks in everything 4. Don't put out God's fire 5. Listen to God's Word 6. Examine everything 7. Hold fast to what is good 8. Stay away from evil

Eight Habits for Holy Living

Our text for today is from First Thessalonians chapter five. Please follow along with me as I read:

16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (NASB)

A woman was sitting on her living room couch one day when a snake slithered past. The woman who was deathly afraid of snakes, dashed to the bathroom to get her husband from the shower. He grabbed a towel and put it around his waist and also grabbed a broom. The wife then went to the bedroom and locked the door. The husband took the broom and using the handle tried to get the snake out from under the couch.

The family dog woke up and wondered what all the commotion was about. He touched his cold nose to the back side of the man’s bare foot. The man jumped thinking he had been bitten by the snake and passed out. The wife, not hearing any more sounds from the living room came to see what was going on. Believing that her husband had a heart attack, she ran to the neighbor’s house to call 911.

The ambulance drivers arrived and ran into the house and placed the husband on a stretcher. As they were carrying the man out of the house, the snake came out from under the couch. One of the attendants, who was deathly afraid of snakes, dropped the stretcher and ran. The husband fell off the stretcher and broke his arm. The wife seeing the broken arm and the snake going out the door fainted. - It was just one of those days.

Have you ever had one of those days, when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and things go from bad to worse? Sometimes it’s not just a day; sometimes it’s one of those weeks, sometimes it's one of those months, sometimes it's one of those years. Nothing seems to work out, everything is a mess. Pressure and problems never seem to go away. It’s like the old adage, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” I don’t really believe in luck. I think there is a plan and purpose for everything and even if I don’t understand it all – God does. Did you know that God does not expect me to understand it all - but He does expect me live a holy life. Our focus today is upon the eight habits that lead to holy living. Here is a list of the habits:

1. Rejoice always

2. Pray without ceasing

3. Give thanks in everything

4. Don't quench the Spirit

5. Don't despise prophetic utterances

6. Examine everything carefully

7. Hold fast to that which is good

8. Abstain from every form of evil.

In the Bible the verb used with each of these 'habits' is in the present tense. This indicates that all of these things are to be continuing habits - a regular part of our daily lives. Let's look down through the habits:

Habit #1 Be JOYFUL

Verse sixteen tells us:

"Rejoice always" 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NASB)

The Message Bible says:

"Be cheerful no matter what" 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (MSG)

The New International Version says:

"Be joyful always" 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV)

The Greek word translated "joyful" here can also be translated "cheerful." It denotes the ability to maintain peace and calm when circumstances around you are anything but peaceful and calm.

Did you know that joy is not dependent upon circumstances. Unlike happiness - which is depending on what is happening - joy is a chosen state of being. We can choose to be joyful. A holy people are a joyful people. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The Bible tells us:

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

Holy people allow their sanctified mind to keep them inspired when the rough winds blow. Holy people keep their mind focused on things above the druggery of the world around them. They know joy!

This is NOT to say that we are to ignore sadness and sorrow. But we are to live knowing that God will walk with us - no matter what happens in our lives. He is there in the good times and He is there in bad time. He is there no matter what. God's faithfulness does not come with a limited warranty. It is not here today and gone tomorrow. He is with me always. This fact brings me a sense of joy that can not be taken away by whatever is happening to me. I can always rejoice because I can always know that God is with me - no matter what the circumstances.

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