Occasionally in God’s Word, we find short, to the point sayings—“exhortations”—as Bible commentator Matthew Henry calls them. They are really easy to remember and of great benefit to read and do. In 1 Thessalonians 5 we find two such principles.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always.” Why? Because we have been given several incredible insights that should change our outlook on life. Our joy should not be based solely on physical comforts.
Do you understand God’s plan of salvation? If you can, start with the Passover and explain it and the rest of God's Holy Days; then you have an outline of God’s plan of salvation. That understanding should give you much personal joy and relief.
Why rejoice? Because if you understand that outline than chances are awfully good that you were called to be a firstfruit. What is a firstfruit? If you know that answer, then you are well on the way to being one. If you don’t know, but want to, God is probably going to let you know soon. To be a firstfruit is an honor beyond comparison.
The blessing in being called by God
In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul calls firstfruits, “workers together with [Christ].” What a compliment! And then in verse 2 he says, “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is [our] day of salvation.” For firstfruits, their time of education and judgment based on God's standards is now. All things we possess come through Christ. Since this is true, 2 Corinthians 6:10 could then be read: Though I am sometimes sorrowful, I am always rejoicing; though I am poor, yet I am rich; though I have nothing, yet in Christ I possess all things.
What about the rest of humanity then? That is where relief comes in. As a firstfruit you now know that God (both Father and Son) intend to have a huge family. That family will include almost everyone who has ever lived. The very word, firstfruits imply seconds! God’s plan is that few will be eternally lost. (2 Peter 3:9)
In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul quotes from Ezekiel 37:26-27: “…[God] will dwell in them and walk among them. [The true God] will be their God, And they shall be [God’s] people.” This is true for the firstfruits now, but later it will be true for billions more during the Great White Throne harvest period (Revelation 20:11-12)! Doesn't that give you joy and relief?
The blessing of talking with God
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we find another Christian living principle: “Pray without ceasing.” What is prayer except conversation with our Father and our older brother Jesus Christ? Since we rejoice in the knowledge of them and their truth, would we not want to talk to them about it all the time, in every way, with the understanding that they are concerned about our lives?
Good times to pray are when we arise in the morning and before we retire for the night, but what about in between? When I surf, I thank God aloud often for every good wave I receive. Does God care? I think so. When I see the sunlight strike the hillside chaparral, just west of our home, I thank God for the early morning sharpness of vision that they, both Father and Son, have given me. In the evening, I rejoice in the alpenglow created by the setting sun. Why not rejoice? They have given these physical blessings to us to drink in and enjoy.
There are many on my prayer list that I know, but many others that I don’t know personally. I read about their sickness or need and I try to imagine how they occurred, and what their sickness or need means to their loved ones and families. Sometimes they are alone and have no blood family. Can we not reach them somehow through our prayers? We can, and I ask God to help those needing help. I believe that this request can result in some small benefit to those who need prayers, but always (always!) it results in a giant known and realized benefit to those of us who pray for others (Matthew 6:6).
I can read—thank You Father! I have time to write—thank You Father! I have enough to eat and share—thank You Father! Thank You Father for Virtual Christian Magazine! Thank You Father very much for every good thing that has come into my life!
I can enjoy sights and sounds and touch and taste and smell. All these senses have been given us by God to enjoy. What good thing do we have as humans that God, both Father and Son, have not given us? I rejoice in their gifts, and when I do I thank them in prayer.
These two Christian living principles go hand in hand: we should rejoice always, thanking God and Christ for all their blessings, and as we do we will pray without ceasing.
To discover more about being a firstfruit of God and how to better connect with Him through prayer, visit our website to download article and booklets, such as The Road to Eternal Life, which will help you on your path to a deeper relationship with God.