“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (KJV)
The year was 1968. The place: Anne Shockley Elementary School located in Griffin Georgia. The event: Vaccination Day! Every student was elated and eager to embrace this entertaining event. The thrill of being shot by a needle that came from a gun-shaped device shaped extended from the top of our heads to the soles of our feet and gave us something to shout about! Clearly, that is far from an accurate account! To this day, I have a round scar nearly the shape and size of a dime reminding me of that traumatic and dramatic day that froze all of us in fear! It was very difficult to process that the stranger with the gun in his hand was there to make us happy and healthy. To make matters worse, the principal of the school, the teachers and our parents were pleased that Dr. Billy the Kid was there to shoot us with his crazy-looking gun! While Dr. Billy the Kid offered us inoculations against disease, our passage today points to an inoculation against the illness of ingratitude.
Before discussing the application of this passage, let’s first define a couple of terms to aid our understanding:
- Inoculate: To inject or implant a vaccine, microorganism, antibody into the body in order to protect against or treat a disease or sickness.
- Ingratitude: The state of being ungrateful or unthankful.
In this passage, Paul points us to the fact that God wants His people to be joyful. He delivers to us a definite defense to display the joy of the Lord in our lives. Paul was aware that as human being we are subject to a sinful nature so we will often need a reminder to rejoice at all times. This reminder is especially important for those spiritual Vaccination Days, those days that include unexpected events or just living in a world that has been altered from its original perfect state due to sin.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” - Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
Prepare yourself for this shot of truth because it will sting our flesh. Rejoicing in the Lord is not a suggestion. This is a command. A Christian’s joy does not spring forth from his or her circumstances, but from the blessings that are theirs because they are in Christ. “The truth is that a Christian who willfully remains in sadness and depression is breaking the Lord's commandment to rejoice. The individual that parks in this display of pride does not trust God specifically in regards to His power, providence and forgiveness! Truth be told, all of us have violated this commandment. You may also be at a place where you are currently not embracing the Lord’s will for you. Ask God to grant you the grace to let go of the natural and grip the supernatural. Give Him your will and you will walk in His will.
Join me again next week when we examine some steps that will inoculate us from ingratitude.
Not a Sermon But a Thought,