A Prayer to be Glorified
“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, 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 Thessalonians 1:11-12
“To this end” in some translations “Therefore”. What is the therefore there for? Well apparently the Thessalonians had come under some persecution and tribulation between the first and the second letter that Paul wrote to them. He spends the first portion of this letter explaining persecution and how it is to be expected when we become Christ followers. But this prayer in this letter shows that our resolve when we come under persecution is not to simply white knuckle it and put on our martyr faces and hold our resolve to endure. But even when we come under persecution for Christ’s sake, we should still be glorifying and praising our God.
I think early on in my Christian walk, I was under the impression that trading my crazy lifestyle I had gotten myself into for the Christian walk meant that I would resolve to live stoically and I could have a a good martyr face. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have had my fair share of trials and tribulations but walking with Jesus is by no means something I have to just resolve to do with the face of a martyr. He is the joy and the strength of my heart in the midst of any trial and tribulation. You see when you look at whatever you are going through in comparison to the cross, well it pales in comparison. My Jesus suffered and died on a cruel cross. Nowhere have I ever been persecuted or tormented the way Jesus was. So He deserves more than for me to just throw my head back and hold my head up with my martyr face. It is much more of a testament for him for me to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling He has put on my life.
Because of what Jesus has done, our resolve should not be one of stoic martyrdom, but should be fulfilled by resolving for good and for the work of faith by his power. I love the way John Piper always says Jesus is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him. That is in essence what this verse is saying. Following Jesus does not mean that we will not come under some trials, persecution and/or tribulation. However, when we are following Jesus, and when we are actively pursuing relationship with Him, when we are finding our satisfaction in Him, our lives will be glorified in Him, no matter what comes our way. We will be a reflection of His glory, according to His grace.
I admit that I can fall into a trap of stoic resolve from time to time. Can’t we all? But that is where the enemy wants us to be. And I don’t ever want to give him even a fraction of satisfaction. If we are showing non-believers that type of resolve when we come under persecution, trials or tribulations, why in the world would they trade what they have for what we have. But when we show that we can walk worthy, and that we can still exhibit good works and faith in the midst of our trials, and our lives can glorify God even in the midst of persecution, trials and/or tribulations that is when our lives look attractive to non-believers.
May we all live worthy of our calling! May we all find our satisfaction in Him even in the midst of the day to day stuff, and especially in the midst of the big stuff that comes our way so that He may be glorified!