The Life God Calls Us to Live

Oct. 13, 2021

Scripture Readings

How does it feel when someone you love, respect, and look up to brags on or about you? Paul’s letters to the church at Thessalonica encourage and teach that church of Gentile believers in their efforts to live for Jesus. As he starts this second letter, he “brags” ON them and says he boasts ABOUT them to other churches. I’m sure that must have been encouraging to them; knowing someone thinks we are doing well usually motivates us to continue to do our best, especially if we are having a hard time.

Paul was grateful for the Thessalonian church--for their flourishing faith, their growing love for each other, and their perseverance in the suffering, testing, persecution and hardship they experienced. He went on to assure the church that God would be just and fair, judging those who caused suffering and persecuted the church. In that context, Paul taught about what eternity would be like for those who do not follow Jesus—the sobering prospect of eternal separation from the Lord.

I love verses 11, 12: “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live . . .” (NLT). Surely the Thessalonians were encouraged and motivated by those words. They can encourage and motivate us, too, and we can pray them for others.

Psalm 119 suggests ways we can commit ourselves to God’s ways: “Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds” (119:27 NLT). The psalmist has chosen to be faithful and live according to God’s laws, and we should do the same. Then, we can “be quick to follow your commands, because you have added to my understanding” (119:32 NIRV). An earlier version of the NIV says, “you have set my heart free”—what a wonderful picture of joy and freedom to live the right way!

There are many in our time who suffer because of their faith in Jesus. How encouraging to know that God sees, knows, acts, and will bring justice, and that he wants us to dwell on these words of encouragement and pray them for others.

Sharon Anderson