3: "We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing." - Paul is writing this second letter to Thessalonica in order to clear up some misunderstandings stemming from his first letter. He begins by providing words of encouragement and affirmation.
4: "Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring." - Paul provides two keys to surviving the suffering and persecution we may encounter in life - Steadfast perseverance and Faith.
11: "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith." - We are to fulfill God's purpose in our lives regardless of our circumstances. We cannot become idle in our faith.
12: "We pray this 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." - "God's purpose for all believers is to make them like Christ." (See Romans 8:29)1
Points to Contemplate:
Are we in the "End Times?"
The purpose of this second letter to the churches in Thessalonica is to clear up a misunderstanding on the issue of Christ's second coming stemming from Paul's first letter. Many people had decided that the coming of Christ was imminent, and because of this they didn't need to do anything but wait. What are your thoughts when you hear modern day prophecies foretelling the end of time? Do you put any credence in prophesy? If not, how can you be so certain that God is not using the gift of prophesy today just as He did with prophets such as Jeremiah and Isaiah? If you do believe in the messages of modern day oracles, what are you doing about it? Does it cause you to stop your ministry of sharing the Gospel? Do you spend all of your time, effort, and focus on prophetic messages? What is Paul telling you in this letter?
How is your endurance? The second issue Paul addresses is the extreme amount of pain and suffering the Thessalonians were experiencing from the persecution of they faced. Does the pain in your life cause you to lose faith? As you face hardship, sickness, death, and ruin in your life, do you tend to pull back from being active in your ministry? Does it cause you to wonder why? Do you wonder if it is all worth it? Do you feel that God may have forgotten His promises to you? Paul says the key to getting through hardship, pain, suffering, persecution, and times of trial are to be steadfast in your faith. Is your faith growing stronger?
Are you being glorified?
Do you accept that in all circumstances in life, God is transforming you into the image of Christ? Do you see that you are daily being transformed by God's love and grace? Are you growing a deeper understanding of God's love for you? Can you find evidence of God in every aspect of your life? As your faith grows, do you find yourself reaching out to other people more often, sharing with them your personal testimony of God's love? Are you leading others to the glory God promises? Promises of the Gospel:
Often times, as we struggle and battle through the issues of life, we wonder: Why does life have to be so hard? Perhaps we are not being persecuted for our faith as the Thessalonians were but we still face sickness and grief. Perhaps our lives are not being threatened but we still encounter suffering and loss. We all face difficult situations where our faith in God is tested. Paul's letter encourages us to hold steadfast to the promise that God loves us and is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives. It is the only way that His goal to transform us into the image of Christ can be realized. The world events combined with our personal struggles sometimes overwhelm our ability to see His glory. We want to give up. Our burdens become so heavy that we simply want to sit down and quit. Paul calls us to persevere. He reminds us of God's powerful love. He urges us to continue in ministry so that God "may fulfill every good purpose of (ours) and every act prompted by (our) faith." May Christ be glorified in all we do.