9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 1 Thessalonians 3:9 NIV
Recently, I reconnected with a youth from a job as a summer youth pastor from nearly 40 years ago. As we dialogue she updated me on several of the youth from that summer. She also shared her own personal challenges and joys which life has brought her way. That summer was special to her, I am amazed by God’s faithfulness to watch over His children. As I know she is reading this now, God bless you!
Quick recap on the book of Thessalonians is needed for today’s verse. Paul went to the city of Thessalonica and shared the good news of life with Jesus. Several people became his followers. Paul established a small but life-giving church. Within 6 weeks persecution became so intense Paul had to leave the young church. Later, Timothy visited the church and brought Paul a report in which the church was thriving and surviving even though they were experiencing the same type of persecution. This letter was sent to encourage them to remain faithful.
Within this verse we find a little axiom for spiritual activity.
Thinking about others in God’s presence leads to joy and thankfulness
In the next verse Paul adds this joy and thankfulness leads to night and day prayer, but that is next week’s devo. Today I wanted to encourage you to meditate on relationships which have had a spiritual impact in your life.
Paul could have been thinking about a thousand things while in God’s presence, but he lets us know, he was thinking about others. Many times I am consumed with my own problems and trying to figure life out when I am in prayer. Paul reminds us today to remember the needs and interest of others in prayer.
He reveals that we may also experience joy. I know many people are struggling and joy may not seem the proper response to the hurts others are going through. Yet, joy brings us back to a place for remembering the meaningful interactions you shared together.
Joy helps you navigate your own life and challenges. Joy from God sustains you in your weariness. Joy from God is the extra push needed to make it over the hill your facing. Joy from God shaves off the jaded edges procured from wickedness in this world. Joy from God likes to play king of the hill in your heart. Joy from God is spiritual air for His children.
Finally, Paul lets joy move him to thanksgiving. I think this exercise takes up a good portion of Paul’s prayer time. Thankfulness reengages your heart to the priority of the relationship in your life. Thankfulness puts a valued treasure status over the people in your life. You treat people with high regard when you are thankful for them. You are willing to adjust your time and schedule for those in whom you are thankful. Complaining and thankfulness are mutually exclusive activities when thinking about others.
Being in God’s presence includes joy and thankfulness. Those are the thoughts and emotions I am having right now, when I am thinking about you reading my blog devo. Keep steadfast, others are a part of your journey. May God bless you and spread His favor over every arena of your life.
Blessings Love y’all