June 24, 2008

Simple Instructions

I was reading today and came across these verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Now how direct and to the point is THAT? There’s no beating around the bush there. No hemming and hawing. No soft-shoeing those orders. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. Why? Because I belong to Christ Jesus and that’s what God wants me to do.

The trouble is, those are three things that are really difficult to do. Especially in hard times. Or tired times. Or sad times. Or busy times. Can’t be thankful for THAT hard situation. I’m too TIRED to be joyful. Pray? I hardly have time to do the laundry, let alone pray. Ya know?

But it’s so direct. It’s so to the point. It’s so, well, so black and white. There’s no arguing with it. There’s no way to reinterpret it so that it reads “Be joyful when you feel like it. Pray when it crosses your mind to do so. Be thankful for the good times, because God suggests that it’s maybe a good idea if you get around to these things.”

I guess it could be worse. Right? I mean, it could say something like “Always sleep on the floor. Never take a shower. Be full of glee every time you clean the bathroom.”

So really, how hard is it to always be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful in every situation? I don’t know. Yet. I’m going to try it. Because darned if I’ll spend the next three weeks with my family in a petrified haze, worried about what’s going to happen, unable to appreciate the time I do have with them.

The bald fact of the matter is that the instructions are simple, direct, and crystal clear. And disobedience isn’t an option.

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