I just came back from a long walk where I meditated on these words of blessing;
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, NIV
Its funny how taking a phrase and repeating it over and over again, while in motion, works God’s truth into your body and mind. Five things struck me as I walked with this text;
“…that God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power…” Nothing that I’ve ever done in my life, nothing of any value to God’s kingdom has come through my calling apart from his initiative and power. As I pondered this truth, it felt like I was getting smaller and smaller as I walked along.
“…may he bring to fruition your every desire for goodness…” And I thought about my deepest desire – that every single person in our city come to know and experience the glory and grace of Jesus Christ, in every facet of their life, with all of their being, all the time and forever more; that they would know him through their work, rest, family, friends, church, world, sport, science, music, art, movies and everything else in between! As the fullness of that desire filled me I could do nothing but cry.
“…may he bring to fruition… your every deed prompted by faith…” Then I thought about all of the sermons on all of those creational texts, crafted in faith (‘What in the world are you revealing through this thing God?’), now floating out there in cyberspace. I imagined a whole bunch of nephrologists hearing about the kidney as text for the first time, meeting God through the nature of the nephron. And then came the electricians, classical music lovers, restaurant servers, artists, business people, moms, nurses, neurologists, mechanics, movie buffs and botanists. I trembled at the thought of God taking all that we’ve done in faith over the past 10 years and bringing it to an unimaginable fruition.
“…so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him…” As I pondered this phrase I kept changing out the words, ‘Jesus glorified in you… me… us“… and “Us, me, you… glorified in him”. John Calvin’s idea that we can only know ourselves when we know God, and only know God as we know ourselves was pounded home with every step. Our glory can only come in glorifying him and the fullness of his glory will only come in glorifying us. For a few seconds it was as though the sun was shining a little bit brighter.
“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And all of this – our calling, desires for goodness, deeds prompted by faith, and back and forth glory – is a grace, a gift from God! And I smiled in gratitude as I walked by a young mom, kneeling down to her daughter in love in order to show her something beautiful that they’d found along the way.
This is my prayer for our city and for our world; that all of the blessing of these words would come to fruition – come to fully be! And I am so thankful to be called to pray for these things.