“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This is one of those verses that we see posted and we think it sounds nice and looks pretty, but when we think about it, is this really how we live our lives? These are things that are harder in reality than they are in theory, but there’s so much value in learning to walk these things out. I can think of no greater example of a life lived in obedience to this command than that of King David.
Throughout the Psalms, David faced persecution from all sides. In one chapter he’s crying out to the Lord for provision and protection, and the next he’s declaring the goodness and glory of the most high God. Amongst his cries for help are acclimations of God’s faithfulness. This is the way we are called to live our lives. To be real before the Lord and to be honest with him about what we’re walking through and then chose to trust in God. He desires true relationship with us. He desires for us to lay our burdens at his feet and run into his presence. We need to trust that the God who created the universe, who created the mountains and the seas, the God who created you and I is big enough to change our circumstances and to come through in our area of need even when it looks impossible. God asks us to trust him and to lay our burdens down before him. He says in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As we lay down our burdens at his feet and pick up what he has for us, then we can praise because “He who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). No matter what the outcome, he still has you. He’s still good, still loving, still comforting, and still Abba Father. He’s waiting for our worship. And even in our waiting, even in the trials, we are called to rejoice.
This past season at YWAM has been one of trial, testing, and rebuilding for me. It’s been a season of having to consciously choose joy, continually seek out intentionality with Jesus, and to continually surrender my heart to him. Choosing to worship, even when it’s difficult.
When we make space for him he heals, speaks, and brings peace. But that’s not why we worship. We’re not called to worship for ourselves but to give praise to a holy, righteous God. He chooses us to be his children despite our natural tendencies towards sin. “He chose us in him before the creation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4). It was nothing of our own doing, but out of his great love for us. He is God, and he is worthy of praise.
Day in and day out the Lord has continued to ask, ‘Will you still choose to worship me?’ God will not push his way on us. He invites us in and gives us the freedom to respond. Will you choose joy? Will you choose a grateful heart? Will you choose to praise Him in the valleys and the high places?
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:1-5
By Kari Kalhagen