Looking up definitions of words I think I already understand often yields unexpected insight. It’s also an approach to exploring God’s word that has been surprisingly enlightening. By way of example, consider:

 “Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, CEV)

Let’s look at what insight could we gain from looking up the words joyful, prayerful, and thankful and considering them as the basis for God’s will for our lives.

Be Joyful

Being joyful means being glad and delighted. It means having overwhelming happiness.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Be Prayerful

Being prayerful means being devoted to frequent praying.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18)

Be Thankful

Being thankful means expressing gratitude and being appreciative in all circumstances.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15-17)

Are You Full?

After looking up these words and placing those meanings next to verses that speak about the concepts, I arrive at asking a profound question:

Am I full? Are you full?

More specifically, are we joyful, prayerful, and thankful? Are we fulfilling these basic directives God has placed in the lives of Christians? If not, how can we become joyful, prayerful, and thankful? If we are, how is it obvious to others?