According to 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15, Christians need to learn how to accept and how to offer constructive criticism.
That can happen only in the context of relationship. The bottom line is that every Christian needs to be accountable to others and needs to be willing to hold others accountable. A praying church will grow in admonition and encouragement.
Glenn Coon, a beloved Adventist preacher, loved to say that there are many more commands in the Bible to rejoice than there are to keep the Sabbath. Yet, we rarely give rejoicing the emphasis it deserves. A joyful life is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; see also Phil. 4:4). And spirit-filled joy is possible even in suffering (1 Thess. 1:6).
Paul certainly was a model of what it means to pray without ceasing. First Thessalonians is saturated in prayer, as we have seen. Here Paul invites readers of his letter to follow his example.
Thankfulness is another positive Christian attitude that Paul exhibited (1 Thess. 1:2, 2 Thess. 1:3). At the root of pagan depravity was a lack of gratitude to God (Rom. 1:21). According to Thomas Erskine, “In the New Testament, religion is grace and ethics is gratitude.”-Quoted in F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (UK: The Paternoster Press, 1977), p. 19. It is interesting to note, then, that the Greek words for “rejoice” and “be thankful” have the same basic root. The key to godly rejoicing is a continuing spirit of thankfulness to God.
Open your eyes. The gifts of God are all around us; we just forget to thank Him for them, often because we’re so focused on the trials and struggles of living. If we would cultivate an attitude of thankfulness to God more and more, our walk with Him would be much closer and our lives filled with joy.
Make a list of ten things for which you are thankful. Be very specific. Then make each of these the center of a short prayer to God. Notice the changes that will come in your whole attitude and outlook. This practice can show you just how crucial thankfulness is in our experience with God.