Day 1- God’s will for my life is that I be joyful and that I cultivate a thankful spirit, always. Our first scripture text reads, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)
God wills I be full of joy, always, praying, giving thanks in all circumstances. The Bible is specific and practical. God wants us to be joyful. To be joy filled always is not easy. This passage clues us in on how to start making joy a regular habit. It’s kind of like brushing your teeth, exercise, or, eating healthy. Being joyful takes some mental effort. Reading the verses again we see joy is not something disconnected from reality. I see a two-step process here. If we want to be joyful we have to
#1 pray continually. Why do we have to pray continually? Because the cares of this world are like stick-tights. When I was a little girl, we loved to take walks in the woods, often we took our puppy dog. After we came back we had seemingly hundreds of these little brownish/green Velcro-like seeds attached to our pant legs and socks and of course the puppy was covered. When we got back to the house, we had to take off all those little stick-tights from our clothing and from our puppy. It took time, just like praying. The cares of this world tend to stick tight to us, but when we give to our All powerful God whatever we care about and let him care about them for us, these things don’t weigh us down. We can give him every concern, every happy hope, every outcome, every fear. We can pray about everything that is sticking-tight to our life and God helps us cope, he helps us manage, and helps us grow. Praying lifts our burdens into God’s hands, where he can work all things for our good, even the hard stuff.
#2 Give thanks in every circumstance. Right now, hold up your 10 fingers. For every finger, give thanks to God for one thing. Be creative and specific. Thank him for the things around you, the shelter overhead, water, the clothing on you, clean air to breathe, victories he has helped you achieve, problems which are causing you to depend upon him more. Count out ten more things. As we do this again and again, perspective changes. Our outlook becomes more joyful.
Developing the habits of giving thanks and praying, will get us on our way to having a more joyful life.
Prayer: God, help me to be truly joy filled. In Jesus name, help me give you every care, every happiness, every hope, every outcome, every fear. Help me trust them all to your care, because you are personally concerned about my life and the things that stick tight to me. And you want to remove their Velcro-like hold on my life and help me hold tight to you instead.
Help me to thank you for each blessing. Help me to find joy, even in hard times, because I know that hard times are creating character, they are creating stamina, and they are rich opportunities to develop faith, and opportunities to see you work in ways I’ve never seen before and change me into a more sympathetic, person.
I pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.