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. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Nuggets of Wisdom
Crack. You open the fortune cookie and pull out the little paper. You read aloud: “A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.” Thought-provoking, maybe. But profound? Useful? A truly helpful nugget of wisdom? Hardly.
The apostle Paul wrote short, concise sayings too. But he offered far better wisdom and help than anything found in a fortune cookie. “Rejoice always.” “Pray continually.” “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Short. But profound. And helpful!
“Rejoice always.” Joy is a fruit of faith in Jesus. When we belong to Christ Jesus, God wants us to reflect how blessed it is to have forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. It’s deeper than being in a happy mood all the time. Joy is a deep-down blessedness, a quiet, lifelong celebrating that we belong to Christ.
“Pray continually.” All day, every day, we get to talk to God. And even though we are sinners who should be shut out, God listens. Because of Jesus, he listens! He listens to our prayers, whether they are out loud or silent, thought out or spontaneous, from a prayer book or in our own words. He listens to our thanksgiving, as Paul says: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” So much to give thanks for. So many blessings from our gracious God. Though we too often complain or fall into self-pity or a sense of entitlement, our gracious God loves us and forgives us. He gave his own dear Son Jesus to earn full forgiveness for us by his death on the cross. And on top of that, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, for time and for eternity.
Short. Concise. But nothing fluffy about these little sayings. They are God’s wisdom. They give his encouragement and daily help. They carry God’s own blessing: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
These little sayings don’t belong in fortune cookies. They belong in our hearts and lives.
Dear Father, feed me with your divine wisdom. Give me daily joy. Hear my constant prayers to you in Christ. Lead me in thankful living in all circumstances. Amen.
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