Good morning. My apologies for missing yesterday. Unfortunately I had a bout of stomach flu and could not muster enough strength to write. A number of you told me you were praying for me and I greatly appreciate those prayers. They were precious to me.
Are we a people of purpose? Do we understand our destiny? Or are we a people who flounder around in life not really understanding what life is all about? To lead a life of purpose is to also have an understanding of our destiny and to have an understanding of destiny will lend power to our life. Power to see past the immediate to the future of what will be. Sound a bit too much for a Tuesday? Let's put this in some practical terms.
Paul was obviously concerned that the Thessalonian believers would be overcome by the opposition they were facing. It is also in our human nature to want to see justice played out immediately when we feel that we are wronged. However, as followers of Jesus we know the time of God's justice is coming but we currently live in a time of God's grace. This means that we too must show grace to those who come against us, persecute us, and who cause us personal injury due to our faith. We are not to expect justice now, in fact we are endeavouring to save people from the coming wrath which will be God's justice. Paul reminded the Thessalonians:
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
I don't think we should delight in this fact of God's justice because we were saved from it by God's grace through Jesus Christ. Because we received it freely we should be endeavouring to see that even those who persecute us will come to be saved.
Did you take note of the last section where Paul speaks of our destiny? "on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. " Jesus will be glorified in his people with his return. The wonder of this fact goes beyond my imagining and because of it I certainly what to fulfill his purpose for me now. I want Jesus to be glorified in me. I want to be found faithful in my purpose today so I may step into my destiny tomorrow. That was Paul's desire for these believers as well:
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 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. vs. 11-12
That's the key isn't it; God's power? I mean for a purposeful life, don't we need God's power? We can go about doing what we want but if it is not empowered by God it won't have much impact and it certainly will not glorify Jesus. Maybe the problem is not the lack of power but the lack of a sense of purpose that propels us into situations of faith. When's the last time you had to rely solely upon God for anything? When is the last time you took a risk of faith? As happens so many times with God, we do not receive until we take the first step. We don't wait until we have a million dollars in the bank before we start doing what we have been directed to do. We also do not wait until we feel his power to step into what we have been given to do. We receive as we take the steps. We receive as we need to receive. It is like what Jesus told his disciples about not worrying about the words to speak; they would be given as they were required.
No, I am convinced that the problem is not lack of power but instead lack of understanding of purpose. Our purpose can only be found in serving Jesus Christ in the manner in which he has called us. Without that sense of purpose and destiny we will not allow ourselves to be found in those dangerous places of faith. Oh, we will have faith to believe in Jesus but we will never understand the faith that is required to live for Jesus. Without this faith how will Jesus ever be glorified in his people? Let's stop being a people without direction and start understanding our purpose and destiny. It is then we will discover the power and the faith that makes us feel alive in Jesus. Above everything, may Jesus be glorified in us.