God's Will For You, A Summary Striving for Christ
1Thesselonians 5: 16-22 - Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
We often lament our seeming inability to discern the will of God for our lives. We can find ourselves facing life changing decisions and seeking the will of God only to hear nothing. Too often, we have decided and then seek "confirmation" as opposed to seeking the will of God before making decisions. The bible is filled with direction on the will of God but nowhere does it seem clearer then in Paul's closing remarks to the Church at Thessalonica (1st Epistle). As the Apostle Paul is signing off his letter, he provides seven instructions which he refers to as, "God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Seven of course is God's number of perfection and each of these imperatives are given their own separate verse, even though they are contained within only two sentences. No matter what circumstance you may face in your life, you can match it up with these seven imperatives to discover the will of God for you in Christ Jesus!
But taking a closer look at these imperatives can present daunting problems for our finite minds. Remember we do not think as God thinks:
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher
than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
It is easy to look at these verses and declare: impossible! Five of the seven are written as absolutes! How can we be joyful always? Doesn't God himself say that we will have tribulation in this world? Yes, but the entire verse actually reads:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
What is Jesus telling us? If you live through Him, you can overcome the world too! But how then can we pray continuously? Surely this seems impossible as man thinks. The object is not to walk around through your life and job in reverent prayer. It is a matter of developing a God consciousness. The Holy Spirit resides in each believer but we sometimes relegate Him to the prayer closet and only reflect to Him when trouble comes against us. That is not God's will for you. Have a big meeting? Talk to God first! Having a temptation problem? Talk to God first! But we get caught up in our strength and our own thinking. We can have a tendency to think that we can handle some things without God's input. The bible says differently though:
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. 1Corinthians 2: 12-16
We have the mind of Christ but still like to operate under our own thinking. The will of God would be that you pray continually and operate under the mind of Christ. What about giving thanks in all circumstances? Not possible, right? In actuality, the act of praise can be very liberating from what troubles you. It reinforces who is in control. It reminds us of our position in Christ Jesus; seated in heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). It is easy to praise God on the mountaintop but in the valley, praise will mean even more.