Following Jesus is not a drudgery if we truly take the time to know Him, talk to Him and listen to Him.
17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips.
Yesterday, we looked at Titus 3:1-8 about respecting our rulers and authorities and “to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” A tall order, right? One that can only be done in cooperation with the Spirit.
There’s another passage that really is impossible without the direction and participation of the Holy Spirit. It is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. We will look at verses 16-18 today,
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- Rejoice always– means to have joy, His joy, in us always. Joy is not happiness; happiness is an outward and fickle emotion while joy is an inward state of mind. We have joy because we KNOW what Christ has done for us, is doing in us, and will do for us when we die.
- Pray continually– means to have an open line of communication with the Father through the Son via the Holy Spirit all the time. Never are we to shut it down. If (when) we do by turning away from His face, then we repent and turn back around and face Him. We will not see anger on His face, but complete love and intense compassion. His smile and pleasure are always upon us for us to see and experience.
- Give thanks in all circumstances– means to understand that nothing in this world or the next can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39) and that He is walking through our circumstances with us (Hebrews 13:5). We know that He will take those circumstances and use them to mature us (Romans 8:28-29). We become more like Him by sharing in His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).
- For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus– means that becoming like Jesus is the overall plan (2 Corinthians 3:18). Our constant fellowship with the Father is what the cross was all about! (see John 16:7, 13).
As we can see, these three verses constitute our attitude while in this world. The great part is that we don’t have to generate anything on our own; the Spirit is our dynamo,
13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Philippians 2:13
Abba, thank You for providing the motivation and energy to even desire to know You. It has been called an “irresistible grace,” yet You allow each person to choose or not choose You. It’s not a matter of how many times we rebuff You, but when we turn from the darkness in our lives to the saving light of Your glorious face, Jesus! May everyone experience Your wonderful cleansing and new life. Amen.