Three Simple Steps to Deeper Joy (Simple, not Easy)

Day 41 - May 8 / Elder John Tanner

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is, “What is the chief end of man”?  This can be understood to mean, “What is our ultimate purpose”?  The answer:  “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

If we were made to give Him glory and to enjoy Him eternally, it’s essential that we understand how to do that.  

Paul tells us here:  Rejoice.  Pray.  And give thanks.  (Always and continually).

Look carefully at this passage again.  It says that rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks is God’s will for us.  Why would that be?  Because this brings him glory and is for our good. Said a little differently, you might understand this verse as follows:  

You were made to rejoice in all things, to pray continually, and to be defined by gratitude.  

No doubt, this is hard to do, yet it is simple to understand.  Think of it in terms of any relationship you have.  

When you receive something you enjoy, you say, “Thank you.”  The other person delights in your happiness.  This strengthens your connection.  When you remember this person’s kindness, you’re filled with gratitude, and long to spend time with the person, to continue this mutual enjoyment of each other.

In a similar way, as as you spend time with and enjoy the Lord more and more, you will become more like Him.  Your heart will change.  How can we be sure?  Because you’ll be living out God’s will for you.  And this captures the very essence of our purpose as believers: to obey Him, to enjoy Him, and to become more like the One we worship.

So let’s think practically.    

Want to be less anxious?  Pray, focusing on the blessings, rather than the fears.

Want to have stronger relationships?  Pray with and for people.  Express appreciation, and offer encouragement for what you see in others.  

Want to be more generous?  Pray for opportunities to bless others.  Keep track of what God has provided; celebrate His goodness by paying it forward.  You’ll do it joyfully.  The more thankful you are, the more joyful you become.  

So if we want to see new fruit, greater joy, and deeper understanding, let’s be a people who do more than just read the Word; let’s also do what it says.  Even though it’s hard, whatever comes, let us rejoice. pray, and give thanks.
Prayer Points:
  • Ask for a heart that enjoys the Lord & longs to be with Him.
  • Give thanks for specific blessings you've received recently.
  • Confess & repent over areas of complaining or thanklessness.
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