1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
When we think about discerning God's will in something, there are times when we don't know it and must pray concerning discovering it. But there are other things that we know are His will for all always. Here Paul lists some of those things.
When are we to be joyful? Always. How can we be always joyful? Sometimes things we go through are not always joyful--the death of a loved one, an illness, a loss of any kind. But even in the midst of such loss, there can be a joy deep within that God has overcome that negative with His victory in the midst of it. The joy of the Lord transcends all that is contrary to it. In Him there is hope and help right in the middle of any storm. He is our joy.
Ever wonder how much we need to pray? Continually. Yep, we realize that there are always opportunities for prayer. It's not that we "check out" from being with others and engaging in life; it's that we live our lives in a constant awareness of God's presence right there with us and His involvement with us. He walks and talks with us as an ever-present friend and confidante.
To be thankful, we have to look for the good in all things. We may not be particularly thankful for a circumstance. However, we can still be thankful in the circumstance for something. If nothing else, we can be thankful that God has not left us but is still with us in it.
The King James reads that we are not to quench the Spirit. Live life attentive to the inner witness in a passion of experiencing the life of God. There's no doldrums here.
Prophecies have to do with hope for tomorrow by choosing His word today; they have to do with heeding the warnings He gives to avoid the miseries He wants us to miss rather than dismissing His leading in the Truth--He is the way, the truth and the life!
We get into trouble when we just assume things and don't really check them out. We are to test everything and then we can choose to hold on to what is good.
And last, but not least, we are to avoid every kind of evil. Don't flirt with evil; have nothing to do with it. There are times when the best thing we can do is run so fast in the opposite direction.
Well, it seems that the thing that all these have in common is that they point to living our lives with an awareness of and an engagement in His presence, living in an intimate relationship with the Lord always. Salvation is not a one-time experience; it is continual day-by-day, moment-by-moment. He is the source and sustenance of our lives. In Him we live and move and have our being.