In today’s devotional passage, Paul is giving some final, and very fruitful, instructions to the church at Thessalonica. We see the importance of prayer going right alongside with being joyful and always giving thanks. Prayer is one of the means that God gives us to fuel the fires of joy and thanksgiving. When we are losing our joy and/or contentment, we should always pray. When we find ourselves not giving thanks in all things, we need to pray. When our growth in sanctification seems to be going in the wrong direction, we need to pray. Paul addresses every one of these concerns in this passage.
Joy and thankfulness in the Lord play such a large part in our sanctification. Our contentment and happiness in Christ is directly related to how we live for Him. And without prayer, we can’t expect our joy and contentment to increase. In fact, the opposite is true. Have you ever noticed that, just as your prayer life goes, so goes your thankfulness and joy in Christ. So let us pray, and ask God for the help we desperately need. Not to have everything in our life as we want it, but that He would increase our joy in Him alone. That way, we will be more prepared when God removes something very dear from us. And He will do that as often as He sees fit, in order to sanctify us.
We can have confidence that God will always answer this kind of prayer. Why? Because more than anything else, God desires our sanctification. He desires for us to be more like His Son, Jesus Christ. Verse 24 gives us the motivation. God is faithful! We can be confident that God will answer our prayers because, unlike us, He is always faithful. God is not against us having joy and contentment. In fact, He is our Father and wants the best for us. And the best thing for us is to delight in Him. God is certainly ok with us delighting in things He gives us, but we should never delight in the gifts more than the Giver.
The passage tells us that when we do this, we are doing God’s will. And since we often are prone to drift away from spiritual things, God’s will for us is to continually pray that we grow in our love for Christ. To pray continually means that we ought to always be mindful of our need for Christ and His grace, to be in a posture of complete dependence on Him, and then commune with Him in prayer. And there is a corporate nature to this instruction. Paul is giving this instruction not only to individuals, but to the local church. God’s desire is that we come together consistently to pray with, and for, one another. Now let’s get to it. (-:
God bless you all, Jamie
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
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