By Brooke Holt
“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 Thessalonians 1:11-14
One of the greatest gifts one human being can give another is their focused presence. It feels so good when you know someone is truly listening to you, understanding you, and caring about what is happening in your life. In this letter, the apostle Paul was doing that very thing for the believers in Thessalonica. He acknowledged the persecution and afflictions they were facing, encouraged them for spiritual growth through the challenges, and continued to pray for them to endure and make it to glory.
We see Paul’s heart throughout these letters. He continues admonishing these young believers toward faithfulness and endurance, reminding them Jesus will come again. When Jesus returns, he will bring the fullness of his kingdom. These Thessalonians will see his glory and share in that glory. Not only that, but they will also see the justification of our Lord. Those who have denied Christ and continued to persecute Jesus’ disciples will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9). But those who have trusted in Christ’s teachings and put their faith in him will be glorified (see 2 Thessalonians 1:12).
As they await this second coming of Jesus, Paul and his companions pray constantly and fervently that they will persevere through the power of Christ — not only that they will persevere but persevere in a way that brings glory to the name of Jesus Christ. Paul did not just encourage them but supported them and prayed for them. What a gift to have that prayer, encouragement, love, and support. Surely it made a difference in the church of Thessalonica, and it can make a difference in our churches today.
Are you admonishing others in their faith? Are you praying for others and supporting them in their times of trial? God’s people need each other in these tough times. We are all being tested. Those who teach the Word of God are often ridiculed and persecuted for their faithful teaching. Now is the time to pray that all of God’s people would remain faithful through his power, glorify him through the various trials and challenges, and endure to the very end.
How are you being encouraged, and how are you encouraging? Who is praying for you, and who are you praying for today? How might God want to call you into this fellowship? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Christmas is the festival of rejoicing at Christ’s first coming—the beautiful, unlikely start of our salvation! As the season ends each year, we pack up the decorations. Advent, on the other hand, is a bigger celebration—one we can’t box up and store in the attic. It celebrates the grace of Christ’s first coming, and then it reaches with restless anticipation for the fuller grace of his second appearing and the completion of our salvation! For 28 days, celebrate Advent. In Prepare the Way, join with St. Paul, King David the Psalmist, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, along with the crowds as they rejoiced in the good news of Christmas, and then look beyond it for the holiday that never ends!
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