"16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)
"16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (MEV)
"16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (NKJV)
In full disclosure, yes, I am aware that today's post does not have anything to do with "fear", "anxiety", or really "boldness", but it is a wonderful verse to reflect on in the context of the things that I have been discussing so far this week. As someone who lives with all kinds of anxiety and fear in so many situations, I have trouble understanding why and how I am supposed to Be Bold for Christ when I have trouble even advocating for myself when an order is wrong at a restaurant.
Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians helps me to keep in mind priorities. Rejoice always. Rejoice. How hard is it for us to rejoice when we follow the same pattern of life day in and day out. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, do chores, go to bed. Again and again and again and again. In just that list and not real life, there is so much to be thankful for! Wake up - You are alive another day to help spread the word of God! Get Dressed - You have been blessed with clothes to wear and shoes to keep your feet warm. Eat breakfast - You have food on your table and a place to eat it. Go to work - You have a way to provide the needed things for your family or your self like the food you ate for breakfast. It continues. Do we rejoice in these things? So often that joy and that love that God has washed over us slips by us.
Pray without ceasing. Pray continually. Do you forget this simple command more often than not? I know that I take time to pray throughout the day, but do you give it all to God every chance that you get? It is in the fact that we cease praying that we forget to glorify God for the simple blessings of our day. We need to take ever moment to speak with God our father about the glories, hardships, pains, and love of our days. We are not bothering God. I can promise you that. The bible tells us to pray and pray and pray. God can handle it. We need to not feel as though we are bother Him as He wants to be bothered. He wants to hear our voices. He wants us to glorify the gifts He gives us and also to verbalize the pains and sufferings that we endure. Does this mean that He will take away the pains? No, but our praying and our rejoicing will help to minimize those negative aspects of our lives that God is using.
Finally, we are instructed to give thanks. It is so simple. Thank God. How many times do we go through our days noting all of the things that went wrong? I split coffee on my shirt on the way to work, I stubbed my toe getting out of my truck, I tripped going up the stairs, I sent an email without the attachment, I quoted a statistic wrong in front of my boss. Are all of these things embarassing and in the moment horrible? YES! However, what we forget is to take note of all of the amazing things God did. In spilling the coffee on yourself God kept you from burning your tongue because it was too hot. In stubbing your toe, God kept you from stepping on a nail that was in front of the thing you stubbed your toe on. In tripping up the stairs God caught you so that you didn't fall and seriously injure yourself. See how it is so simple to forget that ways that God is playing in to our lives every day?
Today, take note of the little things God is doing for you. Rejoice in His works. Pray to Him continuously, and thank Him for those little things. Keep a note pad with you for one day and take notes. I think you will be shocked to find out the amazing things that you will see when you open your eyes to God's hand in your daily life.