It is important for Believers to have a heart of gratitude.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18
In this passage of the letter to the Thessalonians (5:16 – 22), Paul was giving a summary of a Christian’s virtues. In other words, Paul was clearly stating that all believers should place this as their priority in living out a Godly life. In this verse there are three things that a believer needs to practice.
Firstly, Rejoice always. Joy is not the same as happiness, as happiness is defined as a “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment” that is triggered by the external force. For an instance, a person is contented by the amount of sweet treats he gets to eat. However, I think that Pastor Rick Warren has one of the best definitions for joy; “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Joy is a sense of inner peace and trust, that even though one may be facing different struggles in life but he knows that ultimately everything will turn out fine because God is in control. Now coming back, Paul urges the readers to have that inner sense of peace and assurance in God, always.
Secondly, pray without ceasing. Some of you might be wondering, “how is it possible to pray continuously every single second without disrupting our daily lives?” We need to understand that praying without ceasing does not mean for us to pray repetitiously or continuously without a break (cf. Matthew 6:7 – 8), “but rather pray persistently (cf. Luke 11:1 – 13; 18:1 – 8) and regularly (cf. Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, 12).” as John MacArthur puts it.
Lastly, in everything give thanks. I truly believe that in order to give thanks for everything, one must first have a joyful heart. I have never met anyone in my life who can be both grumpy and grateful. When one is grumpy, he or she finds it hard to be thankful as the action consistently collides with the emotion. Secondly true joy can only come when one spends time praying and seeking God. How can one have the peace of God or the assurance in Christ without first knowing Him personally? Hence only having this two: Joy and prayer, can one truly give thanks in everything. It is important for one to know that thanklessness is a trait of unbelievers (cf. Romans 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:1 -5) and if we are ungrateful, we are not different from unbelievers.
All these are not just Paul’s perception or idea of the characteristic of believers, but “God’s will for you.”
Luke Zachary Ng