Discussion Guide for 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Icebreaker: What is one area in your life today where you are trying to figure out God’s will?

The topic of God’s will should be discussed often in our small groups, with our families, and with our friends. Many times, we seek other people’s thoughts when facing decisions with big consequences.

Just Do It

Kevin DeYoung wrote a really insightful short book for millennials titled “Just do Something: a Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will.” The premise of the book is that if our aim in life is to obey Jesus, then we will be in God’s will. We can be in God’s will even if we have absolutely no idea about the specifics of which direction He intends for our lives to take.

DeYoung avises:

“So go marry someone, provided you’re equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it’s not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God’s sake start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something.” 

How do we know we’re living in God’s will?

The Apostle Paul could not reach 2,000 years into the future and tell us which decision we should make in life today. But, the Holy Spirit has spoken through him to tell us with absolute clarity what God’s will is for our lives.

If we follow the commands that Paul gives us here, we will be able to look back on our lives and understand God’s will.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The three commands given for God’s will in these verses are

  1. Rejoice always
  2. Pray without ceasing
  3. Give thanks in all circumstances

These three commands should be obvious things that every Christian would agree are good to incorporate into their lives. The problem is that they are much easier said than done.

But yet we are told, “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This means that much of our experience of success will hinge on doing those three things.

Discussion Questions

  • This week, how have the circumstances of your life prevented you from rejoicing/praying/giving thanks?
  • Are joy and sorrow incompatible?
  • Who do you know that has taught you how to rejoice in difficult circumstances?
  • What does it mean to “pray without ceasing?”
  • How can you make prayer a bigger part of your life without stopping life?
  • Why is thanksgiving commanded, “in all circumstances?”

Prayer

In your prayer groups, let every member discuss one thing that is standing in the way of rejoicing/praying/giving thanks. Then pray for God to give them an opportunity to do these things in spite of the obstacle.

Jonathan Pugh
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