Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful
Sometimes I believe we overcomplicate Christianity. It's easy to fall into the mindset of striving to please God and following a rigid list of dos and don'ts.
I've had moments thoughout life where I've gotten myself in a mental jumble trying to figure out God's will. But I love these succinct instructions from Paul in 1 Thessalonians. "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
Really? Is God's will that simple? According to the man who penned much of the New Testament, the answer is yes. While it's impossible to live in a continuous state of happiness and bliss, it is possible to live with joy that comes from knowing that we are fiercely loved by God, forgiven, and have an eternity that will exceed all expectations.
What about continual prayer? I believe that's part of faithfully following God. We are to pray in faith, not in doubt, and with perseverance. We are to trust that God is always answering our prayers even when we don’t see evidence of it. Even when the answer is not what we imagined.
Be thankful. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps me live both joyful and prayerful. It's important to find gratefulness in the ordinary of every day. I took this picture on a walk the other evening. I thanked God for the shade of blue in the sky and the shimmer of the ripples on the marsh water. Nothing prosaic or riveting. Instead, I've found simplicity is the key to most everything in life.
What helps you live joyful, prayerful, and thankful?