1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—
11 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, 12 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.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
Have you ever experienced the persistent inquiry of a child? My six year old daughter has many gifts and talents. Two of them are her passion for play and her ability to craft a plan to get there. For any good “fun-haver”, it takes two to tango. One day, I was working on my computer from home. Work time lapsed into dad time. After asking me multiple times to play, her vocal inquiry turned into action. She walked over, looked me in the eyes, shut the lid to my laptop and said, “It’s time to play now, Dad.”
Her desire to be with me (not just around me) was energized by that passion that turned into action. The same is true, and much more, with the God of our universe. In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, Paul prays that God would make them worthy of His calling and “fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of Jesus may be glorified” in them (v. 11)! God does this for us through His resolve and His energetic action to live for His Kingdom rather than our own. This is the definition of a generous life. What God has done for us, He now does in us and through us for others. When we come to faith in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, our plans and desires and efforts are transformed, grown, and even changed to come more in line with the plans, desires, and efforts that God has for us.
Every day we wake up, you and I have two options: look upward (Colossians 3:1) and grow abundantly to be used by God to extend His kingdom or look inward and atrophy with the plans, desires, and efforts that we have in our own minds to extend our kingdom. The beauty of the gospel is that when we are saved by grace through faith and become children of God, we are not made into His robots or minions to simply do His bidding despite us. God utilizes our plans, desires, and efforts along with the gifts that He has given you and me to fulfill every desire we have for good and turn them into works of faith for God’s Kingdom (Psalm 37:4). God is in the business of changing selfish hearts into generous lives.
One way to be transformed is to do something that is incredibly difficult for us to do: Listen. Listen to your desires. Listen to God’s Word. And listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is active listening. God cares about His glory and our good (1 Thessalonians 1:12)! God is patient and willing to give you soft promptings through His people and His Word, but He is also willing to shut the lid of your distracted life so that His desire for your good might prove to be glory for Christ. Are you living a generous life? Are you listening? Are you taking the time to press in to what God desires for your life to be used in the lives of others?