Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV
Here are some distinguishing marks of a spirit-filled life—joy, prayer, and thanksgiving.
Notice Paul has already been speaking about love: “Hold them in the highest regard in love” (5:13); peace: “Live in peace with each other” (5:13); patience: “Be patient with everyone (5:14); and kindness: “Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else” (5:15).
So, we have love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness… What do these remind you of? The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…”
You find variations on this theme of a spirit-filled life in all of Paul’s letters. When a man tells his wife what she means to him and what he appreciates about her, he doesn’t always say the same thing. The things he says are reflections of the qualities that he sees in her.
That’s what you find in the New Testament letters. In Thessalonians, the emphasis is on joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. You find the same in Philippians. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:4, 6).
This is what life in the Holy Spirit looks like, and that is why Paul says, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thes. 5:19).
Think about your daily life over the past week. Where have you seen a notable presence (or absence) of each—joy, prayer, and thanksgiving?