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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This past Sunday as a community we leaned in to the above text to get a picture of the life that Paul, through these three commands, is calling us to live. This is a life characterized by joy, prayer, and gratitude even in the midst of life’s most difficult circumstances. In follow up to our time on Sunday, I want to remind you of three active steps that we can do to live further and further into this lifestyle that Paul is setting out:
CHOOSE: The first thing that we can do is be actively choosing the things that God has for us instead of the world. Often we can get to a place where we are waiting to feel specific ways and Paul is calling us to be active in consciously choosing God, and in doing so joy and gratitude, at all times and in all things.
ACKNOWLEDGE: The second thing that we can do is to acknowledge that God is with us everywhere and all the time. We are to live life in step with the spirit of God constantly being aware of His presence and living in light of this truth.
RESPOND: The third thing that we can do after choosing and acknowledging that God is with us in all circumstances is to live in response to who God is, not what God does. Paul calls us into a life of constant response to God in a lifestyle of gratitude.
These three steps can make a significant impact not only on each of us individually but also collectively as a community. For this lifestyle to take root we are to practice these things and build habits of them into our lives.
With this in mind I’m inviting you to join me over these next 30 days in actively choosing, acknowledging, and responding to God’s goodness. Join me by starting your day every morning, from now until Christmas Day, to write out 3 things that you are thankful for on a little piece of paper, leaving the back of the paper blank. I’d like you to carry it with you all day and take it out as a reminder that you are living a lifestyle of gratitude. At any point during the day if you see something or if you feel God speaking to you in some way write that on the back of that paper.
As you write each day and recognize it throughout your day I’d like you to take notice as the month goes on of what is happening in your life and do not keep it to yourself but share it with someone. Maybe that is your small group, maybe it’s a close friend, a roommate, whoever it is just be sure to share what you are thankful for.
God desires to transform us and he wants to do this work in your life. My prayer for us as a church is for us to be a people whom in all circumstances are thankful and living lives of gratitude in light of God’s promises.
I hope that you join me over the coming weeks!