Devotional # 190. 5/16/16. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-4.
Intro. Last week we talked about “THE truth” and God’s “calling” us to “salvation” (Devotional # 189). This week we start the final chapter of the last communication we have from Paul to the Thessalonians. We’ll talk about what prayer to ask for and the faithfulness of Jesus. We’ll find these things give us “confidence in the Lord”.
vv. 1-2. It makes sense that Paul, Silas and Timothy, having started this epistle talking about how they pray for the Thessalonians (1:3, 1:11) would here ask the Thessalonians to pray for them. When you truly believe prayer works then you are praying for other Christians and asking them to pray for you. What do Paul and the others request? Is it freedom from a prison cell or for money? No, they ask for:
- “The word of the Lord”: A. to be shared all over the world (“run swiftly”) and B. for it to be honored and exalted (“glorified”).
- God to deliver them from “unreasonable and wicked men.”
We should keep these things in mind; the same things that we struggle with today Paul and his compatriots struggled with in the first century. We need to be praying for an honoring of God’s word, unlike anything this world has ever known. We also need to be praying for an evil retardant. We know that this world will get worse (especially considering the end times studies we’ve had recently) but we don’t know when the Rapture will happen and it is entirely possible for God to give us a great revival prior to the Rapture, so let’s pray for these things.
vv. 3-4. Paul says, “but the Lord is faithful.” Why does he remind us by starting with “but”? Because his last thought was on “wicked men” who do not “have faith.” What a fantastic contrast! Sure, we can become depressed by the wicked people who oppose Jesus in us every day, but Jesus strengthens us. The lack of faith displayed by lost people isn’t just equally combatted by the faithfulness of Jesus, “but the Lord is faithful” in words and actions completely overpowering “the evil one” by “establishing” and “guarding” us. Imagine yourself in battle, you have the best body armor on and no matter what caliber, the bullets can’t break through. Your combat boots are like when you’re at the ocean and the water slowly buries your feet so they can’t be moved. Jesus is protecting and establishing us – nothing can move us because He is faithful!
What should this give us? Confidence. It gave Paul and his guys “confidence in the Lord” that He would keep His word. Paul knew the Thessalonians were currently doing the right things (“that you do”) but it was so important to be committed and never drift away from the faith (“will do”). Yes, it’s important to have a current, steady walk with the Lord but what’s the point if you’re going to falter a year, 10 years, or 20 years from now? I’ve never started a race thinking I was going to lose. Sure, I’ve lost plenty of races but I never started with the assumption that if things got too hard I would just quit. The Christian life is the same way – it’s not an emotional rollercoaster, it’s not a series of spiritual highs from conferences and camps. It’s a slow maturing in the Lord for the rest of our lives. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9, Devotional # 94). And how can we do this? Because we have “confidence in the Lord” that He will help us persevere. In fact we’re also promised a crown in heaven, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
Conclusion. Did you notice that Paul and his companions didn’t have any personal requests when they asked their brothers and sisters for prayers? It’s a great idea when you’re one-on-one with another believer to ask for a few personal prayer requests but when we have opportunities for corporate prayer it should be for what will glorify God and hamper the devil. Do not lose heart today, and do not be persuaded to slowly drift away from your walk with the Lord. Be intentional in your relationship because “the Lord is faithful.”