Always be praying, Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
There are some things that you cannot separate from, or abandon, if you are going to journey with the Spirit, the perpetual joy giver. There will never be an always if there is always a never. What do I mean? Paul says you cannot make joy the basis of prayer, instead, you must make prayer the basis of joy. He says that God is always, and in every circumstance, pulling us toward himself in prayer. Those who belong to Christ Jesus know that it is a battle to remain prayer that keeps us hopeful and joyful. That last statement seems contradictory. In essence, to maintain joy we must fight through uncomfortable circumstances.
To help us do that, Paul also profiles some of the partners we cannot welcome along on this road trip, and he is blunt. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. In that statement we are promised that the Holy Spirit has a word for us in every circumstance -- a word of comfort or direction -- a word from God -- and we can stifle them. Those words may be prophetic. In that sense we are reminded that the turn around in our circumstances lies ahead -- the relief is not immediate. We can find joy in what is coming.
But we are also warned, Test every thing that is said. Why? There will also be things spoken (and you can be swayed to believe that they are a word from God) that would rob your joy. How do we test those words? Ask yourself, are they in agreement with God's word? Do they agree in your spirit with the promises of the Holy Spirit? Keep in mind that there are dark spirits trying to make God's word say what they want it to say. But the truth is, God's word still only says what it says. Misspoken advice can kill your spirit but never lift it. And, Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Let me paraphrase: Hold on to -- and keep holding on to good. Stay away from -- and continue to stay from the evil, evil whose intent is to dislodge you from your place of joy.
With those things in place Paul says, Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you [to these disciplines] is faithful.