Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 21, 2010

always and continually

Advice from the lips of others can often be received with a less than accepting spirit. Thoughts quickly pass through our minds like “you don’t know my circumstances” or “easier said than done”. Without a firm grasp on our faith and a commitment to God’s Word, counsel from the Father will often land on our hearts like unwanted advice. Make no mistake; all of us struggle with the doing of Biblical advice. As an application of this concept, lets take a look at a familiar passage of Scripture in I Thessalonians.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (MSG)
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

I was struck by the words in the Message (the Bible in contemporary language): “This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” Putting the above words of joy, prayer, and thanks in this context, leaves no room for a Christ follower to say, “you don’t know my circumstances”. Believe me, He does! One of the ways that an on looking world can see our faith worked out, is when we do what He says, even when it is “easier said than done”.

Although you may not feel joyful, or see many good examples of this around you, God’s design for you is: joy always. Remember perfection will come in heaven, but our goal should be to live with the attitude that our Father wants. Live horizontally and I can guarantee you that you will not pattern joy. Live daily, based on your vertical relationship with the Father and I can guarantee you far greater joy, and as a result more internal peace. From a sermon more than 25 years ago, I heard these words, “joy is the internal confidence that God is in control of my life”. Believe them and live out God’s design for you: joy always.

Prayer is easy when we really need God. The truth is we always really need God. So why not establish or maybe re-establish a pattern where your most frequent conversations are with the Father. It may be in your regular prayer time, driving (keep the eyes open), or breathing a quiet prayer in a tough meeting. It’s easy to get the point of praying continually, but unfortunately, it’s even easier to let the daily stuff over-ride our essential communication. We need to talk to God, and we need to listen when He speaks: that’s prayer.

We have all wondered how we could ever be thankful if a tragic circumstance happened in our life. It is certain that we would not be thankful or joyful about the circumstance itself, but by God’s grace and through the power of His Spirit, we are able to give Him the thanks He asks from us. God would never ask us to do something, and not give us the capacity to accomplish it. But the greater issue for most of us is cultivating a thankful heart in the daily grind. Far too often we forget the daily blessings, and are consumed with the daily frustrations.  If you are a committed Christ follower, begin, or begin again to list the daily blessings that come your way. You will find lots to say thanks for.

So can we do it? Yes. Will we be perfect? No. By focusing on these simple to do’s, will your world see a God designed pattern for living? Yes. If the answer is yes, then giving joy, thankfulness and continual pray are worth the doing.


  1. joy is the internal confidence that God is in control of my life — from the previous message —I really love that statement thanks

  2. It is so wonderful when I see and feel His joy & peace from that ‘vertical’, thankful relationship – especially in the midst of pain & difficulty! We truly do serve an awesome God! There is no equal!

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