“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
When we think about God’s will we tend to mean what He can do for us. But when the Bible talks about God’s will it’s usually giving us instructions. For instance, three things that are always God’s will in a believer’s life are joy, prayer, and thankfulness. As we carry out these instructions, they unlock the door to a healthy relationship with the Lord.
Rejoice always. Joy isn’t just a positive attitude—it’s a purposeful mindset. There’s a big difference between happiness and joy. While happiness is determined by circumstances, joy is a choice. That doesn’t mean we get excited about financial troubles or a serious illness, but that we choose to trust God in our present storm. In other words, joy isn’t about the circumstances we’re in but the Person we know.
Pray without ceasing. When we’re constantly aware of God’s presence we live in an attitude of prayer. That kind of God-consciousness impacts our choices and opens our eyes to what He’s doing around us. So, when obstacles slow down your plans for the day, look for who He’s putting in your path. Maybe it’s a divine appointment. And when troubles come suddenly—as they certainly will—you’ll already be in the frame of mind to pray specifically.
In everything give thanks. Gratitude is a powerful weapon. It focuses our attention on the things God has done and is presently doing, despite anything else that’s happening. That requires taking control of our emotions. Remember, when we start thinking about how we feel, we stop thinking about what God knows.
You see, God’s will is not something you find but something you do. Other places in Scripture confirm this. We’re to dedicate our entire being to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2); yield control to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-21); and learn to control our bodily impulses, living to please God in every attitude and behavior (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).
You cannot be in the will of God without being obedient to His instructions. The key is to make your relationship with Christ your top priority. And as you do the will of God each and every day, God’s will for you naturally unfolds.