Amidst Paul’s final instructions as he closes out his first letter to the Thessalonians is this little nugget:
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Paul isn’t telling me what to do; he’s telling me how to be. This isn’t a response to what life sends my way, but a state of being that transcends any particular issue or problem that life deals me.
Be joyful always.
When I am depressed, afraid, or angry something is wrong and it has nothing to do with my circumstances. It’s a warning sign of heart disease – spiritual heart disease.
When I am distracted or anxious and I choose to worry rather than bring my issues to God, I am missing out on fellowship with God.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
When I am jealous and ungrateful, I am rejecting the blessings that God has poured out on me.
Thank you for your promises. Thank you that since you have conquered the grave so that I may reign with you, I really can be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. Amen.