Devotional

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” –  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

The last thing you expect when you walk into a store is an employee with a bad attitude. Bad service, left unchecked, can drive customers away, because consumers associate employees’ attitudes with the business. If service is great, people think it is a wonderful business; if service is slow or sloppy, they think the business is to blame. Obviously, the way to fix that is to adjust the attitudes of any negative employees. The question is does God need to adjust our attitudes. 

We go to church because we want to approach God, to enter into His presence. The Scriptures tell us that God’s response to us depends on our attitudes in approaching Him. Just as poor attitudes are hard to respond to in a business, so God has a difficult time responding to the wrong attitudes in His people. 1 Thessalonians 5 gives us some advice on attitudes. 

First to be joyful. Verse 16 says, “always be joyful” Joy is not always a feeling, but a way of living. “Always” is tough. It was Paul’s word to the church at Thessalonica, Philippi, and to us today. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). How can you always be joyful when everything is not joyful? It is a choice. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Joy is the fruit of the Spirit.  Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11). Joy is found in Jesus. We can be joyful in Him, even when our circumstances are not good. We are not always going to feel it, but we have to choose to rejoice. 

Second, “never stop praying.” Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Prayer is not to get God to move toward you but to get you to move toward God. Continue praying throughout your day. Stay in constant communication with God. Prayer is the difference between what we can do and what God can do. There is a connection between prayer and praise.

Third, be thankful: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (vs 18)  The Bible has a whole lot of verses that tell us to be thankful. Colossians 2:6-7: “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” It’s not always easy to be thankful but notice it does not say to thank God for all things but in all things.

Our attitudes are an outward display of what’s taking place in our hearts. It is time to take control of your attitude. Dr. Charles Swindoll said, “I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” 

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Our attitudes are an outward display of what’s taking place in our hearts. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. What can we do this week to be joyful, praying and being thankful?