1 Thessalonians 5:16 - Always Be Joyful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 - Always Be Joyful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV) Be joyful always;
1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT) Always be joyful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 (CWR) Always be joyful in Christ.
OVERVIEW AND INTRODUCTION
Joy in the Lord is the overtone of the whole epistle. The
Philippians are bidden to rejoice with that joy which has its source in the
Lord and which is had only in fellowship with Him. [SDA Bible
Commentary re Phi. 3:1]
"Rejoice, pray, and give thanks" sound like ordinary
admonitions; but when you add the adverbs, you have a real challenge:
"Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks." The
Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps in constant communion with Him
will see many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long.
"Pray without ceasing" does not mean a constant mumbling of prayers.
True prayer is the attitude of the heart, the desire of the heart.
When our hearts desire what God desires, we are praying all day long
as the Spirit intercedes for us and in us. [Wiersbe Expository
Be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful - these three
commands often go against our natural inclinations. But when we make a
conscious decision to do what God says, we will begin to see people in a
new perspective, and we will find it easier to be joyful, prayerful,
Never stop praying means not giving up. It does not mean
consciously praying at every moment. We cannot spend all our time on our
knees, but it is possible to have a prayerful attitude at all times,
being constantly in conversation with God and attentive to his
Spirit's ongoing presence in our everyday lives. A prayerful attitude is
not a substitute for regular times of prayer but should be an
outgrowth of those focused times.
If you find yourself filled with worry, turn those thoughts
into prayers. If you are excited or happy about something, turn that
into a prayer of thanks to God. He desires to be close to your life -
in sorrow and joy. Open yourself to his presence. [One Year NLT SB
re vss. 16-18]
Three imperatives which are to characterize the Christian's life
at all times... Each begins with a different adverb or adverbial
prepositional phrase emphasizing that the action is to be constant, and in
each the command is expressed with a single verb in the present
tense, indicating a continuing action. [College Press NIV Commentary]
Books have been written on these simple directives out of the
first letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church. [In His Time; Walk
This verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:16, not John 11:35, is the
shortest verse in the Greek NT. [Ryrie SB]
Real joy depends upon one's relation to God, which is permanent
and unchanging. (UBS Translator Handbook Series)
Christian joy is not dampened by affliction or other harsh
circumstances, because it is rooted in one's unassailable relationship to God.
In fact, joy may thrive in tribulation when a believer discerns the
glorious purposes of God. Such joy is not self-generated but is the
Spirit's fruit. [Wycliffe Bible Commentary]
If you cannot rejoice in your circumstances, you can always
rejoice in the Lord who controls your circumstances. Fix your attention
on Him. He may not change your situation, but He will change you;
and that is even better. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by
Warren Wiersbe re Phil. 3:1]
The Lord does not replace our sorrow with joy; He transforms our
sorrow into joy. The same baby that gives the mother pain also gives
her joy. The world's joy does not last, but the believer's joy is
forever. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe re John
Stripped, beaten, placed in stocks, and locked in an inner
cell in a prison--Paul and Silas had every reason to moan about their
unfortunate situation. Amazingly, they did not. Why? Because of the joy that
Jesus had given them.
Joy is not the same as happiness. You will feel happy when
everything is going well in life; but not so happy when the car needs
repairs, the bank account is overdrawn, or the medical report is not
good. You may not be happy, but you can still be joyful. Joy comes
from deep within, from the knowledge that ultimately God is in
control of all that occurs in your life and he will help you through it.
Jesus promised his followers: "I have told you these things
so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will
overflow!" When you are saved, you are given a well of joy deep within that
can never run dry. Even more, that joy bubbles up like a fountain
and overflows to everyone around you. Just as Paul and Silas's
joyful response in prison impacted the other prisoners and the jailer,
so you can impact others. [The One Year Bible for New Believers re
We rely on laws and rules to govern behavior, but everyone
knows they can't govern the human heart. External forces can't command
internal responses. Still, God works into His Word several unexpected
instructions: to love Him with all our hearts, to have no anxiety, and to be
joyful. How is this possible? How can an outward command be imposed on
inward attitudes? How can an untamable heart be tamed by words?
It takes more than words, of course. In a command to "be
joyful," self-discipline isn't the goal. It isn't an effective response
or even a realistic one. We can't change our hearts simply by
telling them to change. We can, however, realize that our attitudes are
off-kilter and ask Him to supernaturally change them. He holds hearts in
His hand; He can certainly sway them with His thoughts and fill them
with His Spirit. If we are going to be people who are always joyful,
this is how it has to be. We can't follow this instruction in the
midst of trying circumstances unless we have a radical change of
perspective and supernatural help. Biblical commands to rejoice - especially
in suffering, persecution, and the intense trials of life - can
only be fulfilled when we depend on Him.
Hear His heart: "I designed you for joy. I sent My Son to you
so your joy might be full, abundant, overflowing. I didn't create
you for joy only on pleasant days but for deep, abiding joy in any
circumstance. Yes, this seems unrealistic to you. And yes, you can't simply
flip a switch and rejoice. But you can focus on Me, change your
perspective, and ask for My heart to fill you. I will gladly give you joy if
Father, I'm asking. I want joy - Your joy, the kind I was
designed to have and that Jesus promised. Please let me experience it,
even in my most trying circumstances. I want the joy that overcomes
all obstacles and runs deeper than any pain. [The One Year
Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
When spiritual directives such as Paul gives us here confront
us--always be joyful, always be thankful no matter what happens - our
natural response is, "That's impossible!" We tend to feel inadequate and
unable to please God. How can we rejoice in tragedy, pray when we are
otherwise occupied, or be thankful in times of adversity? The key is in
Paul's next words: "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit."
The purpose of our existence is not simply to be "good"
people. God has laid hold of and redeemed us for the purpose of forming
us into his likeness as we walk through the experiences of this
life with him. We are to become a dwelling place for his Spirit. Our
challenge is learning to let him do the impossible through us! He is using
everything in our lives to teach us that apart from him we can do nothing
but through his Spirit we can do all things, even rejoice always,
pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything.
LORD, help me to understand that you are truly causing all
things to work together for my good this very day. I want to be
obedient to what your Word asks of me. I cannot do this on my own. But in
your Spirit's power, I can do what you tell me to do. May you be my
joy, and enable me to be aware of your presence with me continually
in Jesus. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller re 1Th. 5:16-19]
In Him our joy will be full; and it is our fault if we have not
a continual feast. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
LINK FOR FURTHER STUDY:
EXCELLENT VIDEO SERIES ON EXPERIENCING GOD:
BIBLE PROPHECY SERIES ON REVELATION: