I Thessalonians 5:16-18 ERV; Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.
When I first looked at this verse, I thought, how can you always be full of joy? This is an impossible verse to keep! How can I be thankful for whatever happens? What if it’s bad? How can I be thankful for ‘whatever’ happens. But then I read the last statement and I get it. It’s how God wants us to live in Christ Jesus.
You see, when you’ve died to self and set aside your life and allow Jesus to live in you, it’s no longer you that lives. Paul said it best in Galatians 2:20, “So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me.” Oh my! Do you see it yet? To be always full of joy, I look at what Christ did for me. He redeemed me from a sentence of life in prison without parole (Always be full of joy). He gave me access to the Father (never stop praying). I can’t stop thanking Him for taking my shame, my punishment, my sickness, my disease so that I could tap into HIS victory and live free. That is life in Christ. It’s not repeating a prayer or ritualistically going to church or reading the Bible. It’s not calling on God when I desperately need a fix or get into a tough situation. It’s knowing who our Father is and walking in the power and authority we have in Him.
My cousin Jerry, was a race car driver. This is for you, Jerry! If I had a fast car and knew it could go 200 mph, trust me, I’d find somewhere to take it to it’s fullest potential. To drive it at 35 mph everyday would be such a sin! That car was made to go fast! Well guess what? The power we have in us should be used to it’s fullest potential, daily. No need to be cautious with it or afraid we’ll run out, there’s plenty more where that came from, an inexhaustible supply.
Father, I need a tune-up to get me to optimal operating speed. I’m so excited to open up the throttle and let the Holy Spirit flow through me. My example is my brother, Jesus. I will love like Him and trust in the same power that was in Him, that raised Him from the dead, to also keep me full of joy, thankful and trusting in You. I love You so much. To reflect you is my desire and my right. I won’t allow the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches, distract me from the purpose I was created for. I take authority over all outside forces that would try to drain my fuel and gum up my carburetor. I’m on an open highway with You, Lord. Let’s go! In Jesus’ Name, Amen