Our text gives us what appears to be three difficult commands (1 Thess. 5:16-18): “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” All three of these verbs are in the imperative mood meaning they are commands not suggestions. As well, these verbs are in the present tense, implying that these actions are to be continuous and recurring. These commands are not just for the good times…. they are for the difficult times as well. It is tough to rejoice and give thanks when…
There is not a promise in the Bible that says we will be free from troubles, trials, temptations, or tears. God does promise something better - He promises contentment in the trouble, trials, temptations, and tears. In Philippians 4:10-19, we meet a man in prison because of corrupt officials awaiting possible execution over false charges who tells us how to find contentment.
Suffering is unavoidable in a fallen world. However, God has a three-fold strategy for suffering in the life of the believer. Like gold in the refiner's fire, God uses suffering to purify, mold, and shape believers.
Jesus rose from the dead... and transformed these despairing, discouraged, and doubting believers into men and women of contentment, courage, and conviction. By looking at how the resurrection helped the disciples gain hope in the aftermath of the crucifixion, we can gain perspective for recovering our hope.
The secret to having peace of mind in the worst of times is by praying right and thinking right. This peace of mind is not to be viewed as some pie in the sky approach to life. It does not mean that our life is going to be a rose garden. It does not mean that will that we will not endure trying times. Peace of mind does not deny the existence of anxieties or worries. Instead, our text tells us what to do with anxiety and worry and how to have peace of mind.