Summary: Your situation should never determine your joy.
In Everything Give Thanks
1 Thess. 5
The book of 1 Thess. was likely the 2nd of Paul’s letters, written @ 52AD, after Timothy had returned to Paul at Corinth, relating to him the state of the church at Thessalonica. This church is believed to have been made up of primarily Gentile people, reflected in the fact that Paul said in 1:9 “they turned to God from idols”, something he couldn’t say about the Jews.
Paul was concerned because of the infancy of the church; that’s why he sent Timothy to check on them. Overall, things were going well, but there were a few doctrinal misunderstandings that needed to be dealt with. Notably, there was some confusion about the fate of those who die before the rapture takes place. Many believed that heaven would only be available to those who are alive when the rapture transpires. But Paul explained that the dead in Christ would rise up first, and then those alive and remaining will be caught up together with them in the clouds to ever be with the Lord.
Being young Christians, Paul ended this letter with some words of instruction/wisdom concerning their Christian walk. He said to be thoughtful of the leaders who work hard to minister to them regularly, to try and get along with each other, warn those not living right to get right, encourage anyone who feels left out, help the weak, be patient with everyone, don’t be hateful to folks because they are hateful to you, but be good not only to the believers but also to the unbelievers.
But then he says something that is vitally important to hear: “Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do”.
Now, I realize that it’s easy to look at these verses and assume this is totally impossible. With lives full of anxiety, depression, hurts, mourning, sickness, etc. how in the world can we be full of joy and always be thankful? I’m going to tell you how: because of Jesus Christ! Not just because of all his miracles, blessings, and favor. But most of all because of who he is. (Rose of Sharon, lillie of valley, prince of peace, hope of salvation, king of Glory, hightower of strength, etc.) Anything I need for any moment: that’s who he is and always will be! And irregardless if I’m sick/well, rich/poor, weak/strong, better/worse, up/down, on mountain/in valley, etc. He is still going to be Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. And there is not one circumstance that can change that. And when all the world is failing, faltering, and falling apart, he will still be a strong tower that the righteous can run into and be saved! Hallelujah!
There are way too many people in the church world that are walking around mad, angry, and frustrated. Too many that are disgruntle about everything and never seem to have joy. I’m telling you as a child of God, you have a lot to be happy about. You’ve got a lot to be joyful about. For, had it not been for the work Jesus performed at Calvary you’d be lost and doomed to hell. Had it not been for him taking stripes you’d never be healed/made whole. Had he not been chastised, you never would have peace. But he took care of it for you. So irregardless where you are, you need to get excited because the God of Glory lives inside your heart!
Now, I believe these verses very well run together. For, he says “be full of joy, and never stop praying”. You know why many folks quit praying/seeking God for the answers they need? They have lost their joy about the situation. They quit seeing it come to fruition in their spirit, and therefore have lost hope. There must be joy swelled up inside you that God is about to do something new, great, and glorious. *You need to get excited today about what God is about to do! You need to let that anticipation start building once again. You need to get back to where you once sat on the edge of your seat with joy that you couldn’t contain because you knew any second a miracle was going to happen. Get it back in your heart: God is ready to move!
(1)That’s why Nehemiah said what he did. He was burdened to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but faced adversity from every side. Yet, he knew he was called to this task, so he proclaimed to all of them to keep at it because the joy of the Lord is your strength! (2)That’s why Peter encouraged the persecuted believers to continue on in their walk with God, because it was joy unspeakable and full of glory. (3)That’s how David said in Psalms 51 that he would be able to teach transgressors their way and convert sinners to the Lord, by having the joy of salvation restored to him, (4)that’s how Psalms 89 says people walk in the light of his presence, by the joyful sound of worship, (5)that’s how Ps. 105 describes God gave the seed of Abraham the land of the heathen, by bringing forth his people with joy, (6)That’s how Prov. 12:20 says peace is planned by having a heart of joy, (7)It’s with joy that we draw water from the wells of salvation, (8)That’s how Is. 35 says the ransomed and sorrow/sighing shall go away, by having joy in our hearts/minds.