Fulfilling Every Good Resolve
“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, 12 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).
Reading Paul saying, “To this end we always pray for you…” (2 Thess. 1:11) really gets my attenttion. It gets my attention for serveral reasons. First of all Paul was a man of faith. He was a man that believed God and trusted in his word. And it follows that when you are a man of faith that you will be a man of prayer. Paul prayed always because he always trusted in God. Paul always looked to God in prayer in total dependence on him for everything thing, at all times and for his every need. This scripture get my attention because its a reminder to me that men of God– men of faith are men of prayer.
Secondly, this passage gets my attention because it gives me insight into what a man of faith and prayer prayed about. It gives me insight into what burned in Paul heart. I’ve learned that we don’t truly pray effectively until we get a real burden–a real concern about something. When we pray and we’re not burdened or concerned we just go through the motion. God doesn’t care so much about our words when we pray as much as he does our hearts. When we are unconcerned and unmoved we will find it really difficult to pray. But when we get a burden–when we begin to really care about what God cares about–when the things of God begin to burn in our hearts our prayer life will be set ablazed–our prayers will be white hot with faith, fervency and persistence. Paul prayed always because he was burdened with the cares and cause of Christ. When we care more about missing our favorite tv show then we do the things of God we will not make much of an effort to pray or to gather with God’s people to pray on a Wednesday night. Paul’s prayer gets my attention because it gives me insight into what a man caught up with Jesus prayed for. In this case Paul interceded for others. He valued the power of intercessory prayer. And this is not only seen in that he prayed for others but He coveted the prayers of other. Notice that what he prayed for on behalf of others was first that God would make them worthy of His calling. The underlying motivation of Paul’s prayer was the glory of God. He prays that others would live their lives in a manner that was worthy of the name of Jesus–in a manner that would spread the fame of Jesus and make him look good. In addition, Paul prayed that God would fulfill every good resolve in others (the underlying motivations being the glory of God). This got my attention because it reminded me that I must have intentional goals and plans that I’m striving to achieve. Like a heat seeking missile if I’m going to fly straight, if I’m going to get to where God wants me to be and accomplish all that God wants me to accoplish for His glory, I must have a clear target. I must know what I’m shooting for or I’ll never hit the mark. And if I don’t know what the target or mark is how would I ever know what to aim for–what to plan for. I don’t want to live this life aimlessly. I don’t want to just be busy. We can be busy doing things but never really getting anywhere. In Daniel 1:8 we read, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.” Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.” In the KJV it says that he “purposed in his heart.” To get to where God wants us to be we need some godly resolves in our lives. With purpose of heart we need to identify the “will nots” and “I wills” and strive by God’s grace to achieve these resolves. Our prayer life will change and how we live our lives will change when we know what we’re living and praying for.
What also gets my attention is that Paul prayed that they not only fulfill their good resolves but also their work of faith. The resolves that we make for good are not going to fulfill themselves. God fulfills them but he does through the “work of faith.” God is not going to do for us what we’re suppose to do for ourselves. But at the same time we can not do for ourselves what only God can do. That is why it is a “work of faith.” We must do our part while trusting God to do what only He can do. Paul said it best when he wrote, “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1:29).
God’s word for me today:
1. Review and identify the “will nots” and the “I wills” that the Holy Spirit has reveled to me.
2. Renew my resolve to go after what God is calling me to do.
3. Pray everyday that God will fulfill in and through me all that He has put in my heart.
4. Strive and labor (do my part) with God’s strength to go after it.
5. Do everything by faith and for the glory of Jesus.
©2012 Marco David. Originally posted at http://marcoadavid.blogspot.com. Marco David is the pastor of Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, IL.