1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Always. Continually. All Circumstances. Pretty black and white, no ambiguity, crystal clear. For me these all or none statements are challenging. Not intellectually, of course, but in practice. We can often argue and debate doctrine that seems to be less simple or definitive, but the reality before the follower of Christ is that God does have very specific and definable expectations that DO NOT need explanation. But perhaps these become the most challenging of all, for me, because they reveal my nature.
I am not naturally inclined to joy or gratitude or prayer. Often, circumstances dictate my inclinations. Truth be told, I am not totally uncomfortable with Paul’s exhortation, as I do find joy and gratitude and prayer vital, and not inaccessible, but: ALWAYS. CONTINUALLY. ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Herein lies, for me, the stumbling block. No way can I be all these things all the time. Impossible. No can do. Not happening.
Wrong, right? Does God call us to do what we cannot? Is He setting us up for epic failure? I think not. Ultimately, I believe God wants us to be always and ever aware of two things: Who He is and who we are..not. When we are rightly related to Him, understanding His perfect nature as well as His perfect love for us displayed on the cross, and recognize our fallen, imperfect nature that ultimately leads us to the cross, things begin to fall into place.
He does what we cannot do in and through us AS we seek Him. My focus is not to try really really really hard to be good, in all things all the time, but rather to come to the Father, humbly and with a desire to be an ALWAYS CONTINUALLY ALL CIRCUMSTANCES kinda gal. Intent of the heart, it’s posture, inclination means a great deal to the Lord, as stated throughout God’s word. This I can control. This IS my responsibility, the work involved in walking/working out my salvation. He meets me here, in this place of heart, to do the miraculous: Conform me to Himself.
This is a relief. This I am motivated by. To wake up daily and seek Him, asking for His Spirit to give me all that I need to be an ALWAYS CONTINUALLY ALL CIRCUMSTANCES kinda gal.