When trouble taps your inner cynic, God…

 

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15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.

23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  1 Thessalonians 5:15-24

In many situations you may wonder “what in the world is God up to!?” In those moments, you may also wonder “What is God’s will?” In all situations the Scripture says we can enter into God’s will when we rejoice, pray, and give thanks no matter the situation. The Gospel provides us with plenty to rejoice about no matter the situation. The Gospel gives us promises to claim in prayer and God’s Presence to cling to in prayer. And always Jesus Himself fuels for our thanks giving.

Living a God-directed life means that you direct your heart, mind and soul toward God. Jesus makes it possible. A God-directed life is possible through the experience of Jesus forgiving us and filling us with His Spirit.

But, there are choices and ways that will either dampen or build up the Spirit’s “God-directing” work in our lives. The Apostle Paul lists them in quick succession after the call to thanksgiving. Entering into the vibrancy of Christian life can be severely hindered by our circumstances depending on our posture towards the prophetic ministry and our willingness to abstain from every form of evil.

The prophetic ministry of the church generally is the work of forth-telling: bringing you the word of the Lord for your current situations and calling you into dependence on Jesus no matter the situation.  Forth-telling will also identify what is hindering us from a vibrant relationship and trust with Jesus. Thus the next command: Abstain from all evil. The willingness to abstain from evil is generated by a tender heart toward God. A hardened heart persists and actually embraces evil. When we have been hurt in our circumstances and situations that’s prime time for evil taking hold in our hearts.

So, the work of our life with Jesus, the work of our discipleship is to attend to the condition of our heart. When I’m having difficulty rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks I want to examine what else is crowding my “life in Christ.” Is there in me any resistance to the Word based and Holy Spirit empowered ministry of God’s people? Is there a reluctance to be done with any form of evil in my heart, mind, and body?

What I’ve found after answering these questions is that we are going to need the following blessing and promise:

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. I Thessalonians 5:23-24

He who calls you is faithful!

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