It is evident that every individual has his/her daily routines, but most of our routines depend on what makes our life better – for example, we bath always, we brush our teeth sometimes twice a day, we eat all the time we are hungry, we go to work every blessed working day, and a lot of such live activity that I cannot mention all. All these are important, but as Christians we also need to understand what we need to do always in order to have a healthy spiritual life. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians mentioned four (4) important things every Christian must do always/continually/all the time. Let’s go through them one after the other:
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 NIV
15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In the above text, I highlighted the four points in blue and I will label them as:
1. Be kind always
2. Be joyful always
3. Pray continually and
4. Give thanks all the time
Let’s discuss them one after the other.
Be kind always
Before this call “be kind”, Paul described the situation that one needs to show kindness – it is when we are wronged. It is very easy to show kindness to someone you are in good times with or someone who submits to your instructions, but it is difficult to welcome someone who is your enemy. The call is to show kindness to everyone, anywhere and all the time. This is not the first time that Paul calls on believers to be kind to their enemies; Romans 12:20 “if your enemy is hungry, feed him/her; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” Jesus also taught his disciples in contrast to the first command to “love your neighbor and hate your enemy” Matt. 5:43 in verse 44 he said; “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This call to be kind should be part of our daily spiritual life; knowing that God is kind towards us, let’s also be kind to others.
Be joyful always
Nothing should stop a believer (Christian) from being happy all the time – because what gives us strength is the joy of the Lord (Neh. 8:10). Christian’s joy does not spring from his circumstances, but from the blessings that are his because he is in Christ. “The Christian who remains in sadness and depression really breaks a commandment: in some direction or other he mistrusts God – His power, providence, forgiveness” (A.J. Mason, “The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians,” in Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 8, p. 145).
This point cannot not be over emphasized – what makes a Christian in his faith is his ability to pray all the time. When we pray, we invoke the presence of God and when God is with us, our spiritual and physical needs are supplied. “Continual prayer is not prayer that prevails without any interruption, but prayer that continues whenever possible. Paul was speaking of maintaining continuous fellowship with God as much as possible in the midst of daily living in which concentration is frequently broken.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)
Give thanks all the time
Most Christians will only thank God when things are going smoothly – they don’t seem to get it when life challenges come their way. They claim everything works together for good but forgot that every circumstance is the will of God. We should accept whatever circumstances are good or bad thankfully, knowing that it is the gracious will of God for us.
We have seen how important it is to develop a routine for our Christian life. If we really want to be strong in our Christian life, these four pieces of advice given by Paul need to be taken seriously. The last three exhortations in verses 16-18 are not just good advice; they are God’s will for every Christian. They are not the totality of God’s will, but they are a clear and important segment of it. God’s will means joy, prayer, and thanksgiving for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Martin H. Kamaidan
Saved by Grace