“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NKJV).
- Rejoice always
- Pray without ceasing
- In everything give thanks
One, two, three, four–and off we go! One word, “Jesus”; two words, “rejoice always”; three words, “pray without ceasing”; and four final words, “in everything give thanks”. For this is the will of God for you! With this simple practice, we can have the most enjoyable, victorious, delight-filled Thanksgiving ever.
Jesus meets all our needs! He provides for whatever and wherever we lack; and when we give Him first place, He is our first response. “Jesus, I invite you to walk with me in Thanksgiving.” Jesus can make a lonely day into one filled with His presence; or a hectic day into one filled with His peace; or a highly- charged political debate into His perfect stillness. He can do it in our hearts, or in the room. He is our Peace, who has broken down every wall. Jesus first!
Rejoice always. This is where we remain rooted in a calm, cheerful disposition. It’s a disposition Jesus always carried in His earth walk and gave to us so that our joy could be full: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Joy is strength and it’s Jesus’ joy! Real Joy is Jesus’ Joy! After we align with Jesus as our sufficiency, we can “re-joy” in Jesus. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and an atmosphere of His Kingdom. It is present in His presence, and in His presence is fullness of Joy.
Pray without ceasing. This is our ongoing conversation with the Lord. Not religious separation or weird “touch not, taste not” disapproval. Jesus was most comfortable with sinners, and least comfortable with the religious. Best to talk to Jesus, not ourselves. We can include Jesus in our narrative and let Truth be our connection, both the truth of His promises and the truthfulness of our hearts. Stay connected to Jesus.
In everything give thanks. Giving thanks enlightens our hearts and brightens our days. Gratitude is an attitude that is contagious and guards against all social ills. Jesus was always giving thanks to the Father, so we can, too. Thanksgiving is a choice. We choose to be thankful or not. It has nothing to do with our lives’ circumstances. It is based in God, because when we refuse to glorify God as God and refuse to be thankful, we turn off the light and enter darkness, “…because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). God is worthy of glory and thanks.
Remember these four ingredients that will make for the best Thanksgiving ever. Use liberally and frequently! Any time this week, as you become aware of feelings and thoughts coming to steal joy, re-center in Jesus, rejoice in His joy, share the conversation with Him, and be thankful in everything. Do this as often as you need; it just takes a minute to return your soul to its place of rest, JESUS.