Encouraged in the Journey

April 29, 2021

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Have you ever noticed that when you have an errand and you have to drive to an unfamiliar place, the way there seems much longer than the way back? The uncertainty about the destination seems to make the journey longer. Well, one of the challenging things about this season is that we are on an unfamiliar journey. Certainly as time passes, some normalcy is returning, (Thanks be to God!) but it’s unclear if other things will ever “go back to the way they were.” So, as this journey continues, it’s important that we stay focused on God, prioritize what’s important to him and keep encouraging one another.

I want to encourage you today from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians. Paul writes to them and acknowledges that they are doing a good job in their journey of faith. In fact, their faith is growing abundantly and their love for one another continues to increase! It’s so apparent that Paul is using them as an example with other churches in the region. But Paul also knows that it’s not an easy journey. The Thessalonian church is facing many trials. And that’s why Paul writes:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 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 Thess. 1:11-12)

The core statement here is that God is making us worthy of his calling and fulfilling every resolve for Good and every work of faith by His power. That’s encouraging!

How does God make us worthy of his calling? He does this by placing in us the desire to accomplish His will - to love Him and to love our neighbor. He stokes that desire whenever we set aside time to pray – to talk to Him; when we show up for worship not as in intellectual exercise, but as an encounter with the Living God; and every time we get into His Word and let Him speak to us. As we accomplish His purposes, following in Jesus’ footsteps, we express the calling that He has placed on our lives.

Not only does God make us worthy of His calling, but He also fulfills every resolve for good and every work of faith. It’s great to resolve to do something. You may take some time to consider ways to get more serious with your Bible Study, to serve through the church, or help someone through a crisis, but when you resolve to do it, action is coming. Maybe you resolve to join a small group, to finally call that ministry leader and get involved, or to make a meal for a friend to remind them they’re not alone in their struggle. The point is, when you resolve to do good, it’s not a matter of “if” but “how and when.”

Paired with a “resolve for good” is “a work of faith.” Such works express a degree of mystery. I’m not sure how this is going to come together, but I believe this is God’s will and by His grace, we’ll see it done. And that’s just it – Paul’s telling us that it is God who fulfills our good resolutions and works of faith. He carries us along in the work and accomplishes his purposes in it. Sometimes we don’t even grasp what God is doing, but we trust that He is at work – either through us, or perhaps in us.

Becoming worthy of His calling, fulfilling every resolve for good and every work of faith – all of this things are done by His power. Let’s face it, we approach most tasks in our own power. Often we might ask ourselves, “Do I have the interest, energy and commitment to see this work done?” That can carry us pretty far at times. But eventually, if you are serving by your own power, your energy or enthusiasm will wear out, particularly on those long journeys that require faithfulness. But if we serve through the power of God, we find refreshing in the work because we encounter a deeper, sustaining meaning beyond the task that is being done, or from the thanks we receive for our service. What is that deeper meaning?

Paul tells us it is so that the name of the Lord Jesus is glorified in you and you in Him. This means that when people look at you, they see the strength and power of Jesus and when people think of Jesus, you come to mind because of your love and selfless service. In this way, the name of Jesus is glorified. The beautiful thing is that it feels really good when the name of Jesus is glorified in you and you in Him! These two things - God’s glory and your joy - are not opposing. John Piper explains this so well. He says, “God created me – and you – to live with a single, all embracing, all-transforming passion – namely a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all spheres of life.”

Today, you have another chance to live into that single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion. So, as you face the day ahead, start by acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus. Then know that you are being made worthy of His calling on your life. Know that His power becomes available to you as you pursue whatever resolve for good or work of faith lies before you. Finally, be encouraged as you live into your purpose of displaying the glory of God and enjoying relationship with Him today.

About The Author

Dan Wendell

Dan joined the Cornerstone team in November 2018 as the Pastor of Missions. His focus is on empowering the church family to step beyond the boundaries of CCLB to declare the Good News, so that the Body of Christ might be established where it would not otherwise occur. In addition, Dan provides oversight for Cornerstone’s Care ministries.