Key verse: 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Big idea: Our rewardireward for the work which God does through us.
The verse at the end of 2 Thessalonians really caught my attention. The apostle Paul's prayer is that God would, by his power, grant all of our desires to do good. This seems so counterintuitive. Our understanding of good works is usually based in the idea that we are, by our strength, accomplishing something which God is calling us to do. Sometimes people dream of finding the perfect will of God in their lives. But they think that God's will for them comes down to such an extraordinary level of detail that they imagine they are displeasing God if they drive a car which is the wrong color or if they eat the wrong thing for lunch. But here we get a tantalizing vision that perhaps bringing glory to God is much simpler than that. Paul says that we (as born-again believers seeking to please the Lord) desire to do good and that God gives us the ability to do the good thing that is in our heart. What a powerful idea! Finding the will of God is not some sort of puzzle where God is testing us to see if we can find the treasure at the end of the map. Rather finding the will of God means submitting to what He has revealed in His Word, looking forward to his coming, desiring to do good, and then acting in his infinite power.
We often face decisions for which there is probably not what we would describe as a single right answer. The hurricane barreling toward the coast we have to decide do we stay or do we evacuate? When deciding to get married we have to wonder is this the person that I should spend the rest of my life with. When buying a home we have to choose between different colors or furniture. Is one choice a sin?
Sometimes when we talk about how the whole Bible is inspired by God, people struggle. Because the different authors of the Bible use their own different vocabulary and style. How can it all be breathed out by God if John writes in short simple sentences and Luke writes inflowing strong Greek probes.
Well, it's because God did not begin the process of writing Luke and John when the Apostles picked up when scratched that. When the authors picked up their pens. No, the author and finisher of the faith had been preparing Luke and John to write those gospels through their whole lives their vocabulary to their education their family of bringing were no accident.
God shaped their desires so that what they desired to do when their eyes were fixed on him was the very think that he desires. So then they could do it through his power. But ultimately if we desire to do good,G is the wind in our sales pushing us onward. Now, this doesn't mean that God doesn't call people towards specific tasks. It doesn't mean that at certain times God doesn't shut some doors and open others to direct us to where we ought to be. But it does mean that there is a danger to overcomplicating obedience to God. Again, Paul says that the reward that we will receive is the reward that we get for desiring to do good and then God's power accomplishing that good through us.
Discussion idea: Is it easier or harder to be given wide latitude in serving God?
Prayer focus: With Paul let's simply pray that God will accomplish the good desires of our heart through his might.