The Gateway to Greater Joy

The Gateway to Greater Joy

 

 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB

The rhythmic cadence of my feet pounding the platform of the treadmill felt more like a death march. I stared numbly at the pale blue basement wall, adorned with photos of people I was supposed be praying for.  Sadly, I could find little strength or motivation for prayer.  Life had slipped into the monotonous routine of long days inside the house with my young daughter, afternoons spent cooking the same dozen dinners for my husband, and evenings on the couch, just trying to stay awake until 9 p.m.  Joy was waning.

The familiar alarm of a new text on my phone pulled me from my daydream, and I grasped the handrest of the treadmill as I read its words. It was a simple Bible verse, sent from a friend: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

I knew the words, and I’d read them dozens of times. They were even painted and framed on the kitchen wall.  But they came to life that day.  More than anything, I was desperate for a fresh wave of joy over my dull and mundane life.  I pondered the three admonitions in the short series of verses:

First, we are called to commit to an attitude of joy. Focusing on the monotony of my life was getting me nowhere.  God was calling me to commit to shed my pessimistic attitude and commit to find joy in the small things of my life.

Next is the call to pray without ceasing. I pondered the practicality of the phrase as my feet pounded the treadmill.  “He is with me, even now,” I thought.  I found myself thanking him for the physical ability to exercise, the space in our house to put a treadmill, and the opportunity to leave my career as a teacher for a few years of parenting my own children.  I committed to walk in the constant awareness that God is always with me, and I prayed for an open heart to receive his nudges every time the thought escaped me.

Finally, we are called to give thanks in everything. It’s quite impossible to give thanks with a grumpy, bitter, or resentful heart.  Though trials will come, though life will hold its share of mundane seasons, there is always something for which to give thanks.  I found myself thanking God for my husband, my home, my daughter, my health, the food in the cupboard, and everything I’d been taking for granted for far too long.

God is calling each of his children to walk in the fullness of his joy. He invites us into this joy through reminders to cultivate joy, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything.

What stops you from living in the fullness of his joy? Will you allow him to examine your heart today?  He is inviting you to walk in constant conversation and open your heart to give thanks in all things.  Will you follow him through these gateways to greater joy?

 

 

 

 

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About Stacey Pardoe

Stacey Pardoe is a wife, mother of two young children, writer, Bible teacher, and mentor. She is most passionate about walking closely with Christ and sharing his love with a broken world. Find out more about her at her website.

Comments

  1. Yes, definitely! It’s funny how a verse can suddenly jump out at you like that, isn’t it? Amazing how God keeps tugging at us in that way.

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  2. I’m so thankful he does! It shows how the Word truly is living and active!

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  3. Tina Dorward says:

    Love this post Stacey! Beautifully written and this Wife/Mother’s heart needed this today.

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  4. Thanks, Tina! I’m so thankful for God’s Word to point me back to the Father’s heart!

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