Day 9

Hold On to What Is Good

from the 1 & 2 Thessalonians reading plan


1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Chronicles 31:4-10, Ephesians 4:11-16

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Chronicles 31:4-10, Ephesians 4:11-16

What is God’s will for my life?

Oh, the anxious hours I’ve spent with this question on repeat, searching for a spiritual formula to solve life’s riddles. My college years especially were a mishmash of trusting the Lord with newfound abandon yet agonizing over every decision. What am I supposed to study? Am I supposed to go on this mission trip or that one? Should I break up with this boy? Should we get back together?

The weight of my young world balanced precariously on so many question marks. Sometimes it still does.

The uncertainties I’ve faced in each phase of life have felt big and I’ve felt small, like life is the sum of a million puzzles, most of them missing a piece (or ten). But as the years pass and draw me closer to the Lord, a surprising truth has become clear: God’s will is not a problem to be solved.

God’s Word tells me His faithfulness does not depend on my wisdom (Lamentations 3:22-24).
God’s Word tells me His grace does not depend on my performance (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God’s Word tells me that no matter what shape my life takes, His steadfastness and goodness trump whatever is going on around me (Psalm 136).

Friends, our circumstances are big, but our God is bigger. And as we learn to trust the bigness of our God and the sureness of His sovereignty, we find that His will is not just a path—it is also a way of walking.

In his letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul reduces all our agonizing life questions to a non-formula so simple it makes the perfectionists among us a little crazy:

“Rejoice always,
pray constantly,
give thanks in everything;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

No hoops to jump through. No tests to pass. No situational tidiness required. Only actively resting in our God.

Why an active resting? Because rejoicing is not a passive pursuit. Thanksgiving is not an emotion. We are to declare God’s goodness in every circumstance. We are to let the world know what He has done and what He is doing. We are to pray to Him, seek Him, give Him thanks with an expectant, joyful heart. This is God’s will for us in Jesus.

There are heartaches among us today. So many question marks, so much waiting, so many puzzles missing a piece. And with so much confusion surrounding us in this world, Paul tells us to “test all things” with the help of the Holy Spirit, and then to cling to what’s true and “hold on to what is good” (v. 21). And we know this: In everything, our God is good.

God’s love for you is steadfast, no matter the path you’re walking. His promises hold even when your world is crumbling. It is not up to you to be the god of your circumstances. It is for you to give thanks to the One who is greater than any circumstance you will ever face.

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Post Comments (90)

90 thoughts on "Hold On to What Is Good"

  1. G L says:

    A good reminder that I need daily!

  2. Rebecca Fountain says:

    I woke up this morning feeling completely heartbroken and lost in the bottom of a valley. But my past is not something to be shameful of, it’s something to look back on and see the monuments of Grace upon Grace that is shown to me everyday by my God. Abundantly thankful for my God and how BIG he is.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for sharing. Praying for encouragement and peace for you. We’re thankful that you’re a part of our SRT community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  3. Melanie Bisson says:

    I’m grateful for the grace day to get caught up! Oh how God is always on time!! I read this as I’ve been struggling near the end of my MBA program … while my classmates are getting their promotions and big raises, I am questioning everything I went through with my executive coach last year and trying to focus on being still and hearing where God wants me to be. My husband has many prophecies on his life as a minister to be involved in prison ministry and I’ve often wanted to tie that into a business or non profit but He hasn’t called me yet. I needed this lesson today. I can’t have my cake and eat it, too. I can’t say I trust in His plan and timing while still trying to solve the complexity of it and see when it will play out. It’s easier said than done but this was a great reminder!! I’ve memorized the scripture from chapter 5 when I made it my wallpaper last weekend, but today I finally READ and understood it. Thank you, Jesus!!

  4. Kellye says:

    I LOVED this devotion. I’ve recently been convicted about joy and rejoicing. I would say I’m typically “happy and in a good mood” but I’ve been praying for the joy that comes to those who truely seek God. It’s incredible how many time rejoicing comes up in the Bible and I love how this passage shows it’s not a passive act. It’s more than just a feeling :)

  5. Marie Brown says:

    Makes sense! Thanks so much Eva.

  6. Lori says:

    This is a beautiful lesson today! Thank You Amanda. This encouragement and truth meant so much to me!

  7. Marie Brown says:

    Hi everyone! I am new to the Bible. Reading it for the first time and working through issues related to faith/spirituality. I’m happy to
    be here, reading along with you all! Can you tell me what he means by “test everything” ? Is this somehow related to the idea of prophecies in the sentence before it or related to a different idea? Would love to hear people’s thoughts and interpretations.

    1. Amy says:

      Hi Marie! Yes, it’s related to the verse before it. Verses 20-21 are saying that we shouldn’t immediately ignore someone who claims to have a message from God, but compare their claims against the Bible. This really is true whether we hear from God through other people or whether we hear from Him ourselves. Anything God says will be supported biblically, giving us a method to discern truth.

    2. Eva Holsinger says:

      In general I take it to mean that any teaching you hear or read from other people, don’t blindly accept it as the truth but compare it to what you read in the Bible for yourself—study the scriptures and hear directly from God as the “gold standard.” Look up references, read the context, and compare it to the source.

  8. Caralee Lilly says:

    What an awesome God we serve I love the verse “He who has called you is faithful I recently accepted a job in which I am drowning. I have to believe and trust God for the wisdom I need to serve my boss well. I love that He is there to make that possible

    1. Katie Morrison says:

      Caralee, I identify with this. I feel that I am drowning some days in my job. I also read “21 days to beat depression” on the Bible app. It helped me to choose joy and energize me. Whether you deal with depression or not, it’s a great devotional to help you feel confident in the ability to succeed in any circumstance.

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