Dear Brethren,

We often asked ourselves this question “What does God want me to do?” during some crisis or turning points in our lives. Sometimes we become perplexed over what God wants us to do in the following areas :

What job should I take?

What school should I attend?

What person should I marry?

What ministries should I be involved in?

I like to share 3 verses with you to show that the Bible actually wants us to put less emphasis on “What does God want me to do?” and more emphasis on the question “What does God want me to be?” In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we find the daily and every moment tasks that God wants us to be:

 16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Each of these commands is in the imperative, which means these commands are not talking about our feelings; but it should be our focus and action. These are the 3 things that Christians are to do every day without fail.

Rejoice Evermore – Always Joyful

The Bible is not telling us that we should be happy all the time. There are many things in life that bring unhappiness. Some circumstances can bring sadness and grief. But our joy in the Lord is unrelated to the circumstances of life as it is anchored to our relationship with God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We can rejoice evermore as our Lord Jesus Christ is “constant’’ in His righteousness, His grace and mercy to forgive us, His leading in our lives, His promises and His faithfulness. We can be joyful every day because of who our Lord Jesus Christ is to us. Joy is not produced in our lives by our singing, activities, games, meditation or anything else. The harder we try to create joy, the more elusive it becomes. Joy comes from simply resting in Jesus Christ and trusting Him fully.

Pray Without Ceasing – Continually Praying

The second command is to “pray without ceasing” i.e. pray continually. Many dismiss this command quickly as if anyone can pray all the time, he would actually be quite useless in the world and cannot function at all. God is not telling us that we should spend 24 hours every day in a prayer meeting or in formal prayer. I am not saying attending Church prayer meeting is not important. In fact, we should all be attending Church prayer meeting to seek the Lord corporately as we are so needy and weak. In verse 17, the Bible is commanding us to be in constant communion with God.

People wonder, “Do I have so much to talk to God all day long?” We think of prayer as “asking God for things”. Prayer is much more than merely making requests. Prayer is a time for us to align our hearts and minds with God’s will. There are times when we need to confess our sin; times when we can express awe and marvel at God’s creative works; times we should express our love to God; times when we should admit our fears and times we should seek God’s guidance. There are times when we simply need to seek to align our hearts with the heart of God. To pray without ceasing means we are living and thinking in the presence of God all the time.

In Everything Give Thanks – Thankful in All Circumstances

God commands us to give thanks in all circumstances. No matter what happens in life, we can be thankful that :

  1. Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38)
  2. God is working in every circumstance for our good (Romans 8:28)
  3. God will supply our needs (Philippians 4:19)
  4. God will give us the strength we need (Philippians 4:13)
  5. God will finish the work He started in our lives (Philippians 1:6)

In conclusion, we acknowledge that these 3 commands are not easy to obey. Too often we find ourselves swallowed up by complaints rather than gratitude; a sour mood rather than an attitude of deep-seated joy. We lack joy because we lose sight of God; we become lax in prayer because we think too highly of ourselves; we find gratitude missing because we have put our focus in the wrong place. We must remember that doing the will of God starts by being the person God has called us to be. May the grace of God enable us to obey His gracious and good commands!

Elder John Leong