The Wisdom of Paul

Kristen Deede Johnson

READ : 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. (vv. 16-18)

I can still remember the first time I read these verses. I thought they were impossible. How can we be expected to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, to give thanks no matter what the circumstances?

As I learned more about the Bible, I realized that these verses had been written by the apostle Paul, a man who had undergone intense persecution for his faith in Jesus Christ. While in prison he wrote to the people in Philippi, telling them to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Always rejoice, even when imprisoned and persecuted. He also tells them not to “worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Don’t worry about anything, even when you know your future may hold freedom, or imprisonment, or worse.

Paul’s years of serving God taught him that rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks belong together in the worst of times as well as in the best of times. Now when I read these verses in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me to live as faithfully, consistently, joyfully, and gratefully as Paul lived.


May we be full of rejoicing, prayer, and gratitude in all times and situations, Lord.