Tag Archives: Practice

The Third Chapter – 2 Thessalonians

TLB 3:1 Finally, dear brothers, as I come to the end of this letter, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and triumph wherever it goes, winning converts everywhere as it did when it came to you. 2 Pray, too, that we will be saved out of the clutches of evil men, for not everyone loves the Lord. 3 But the Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from satanic attacks of every kind. 4 And we trust the Lord that you are putting into practice the things we taught you, and that you always will. 5 May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ.

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Believers are the focus group of Pauls appeal for prayer. “Pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and triumph wherever it goes, winning converts everywhere as it did when it came to you. Pray, too, that we will be saved out of the clutches of evil men, for not everyone loves the Lord.”  

We have become a society of people who have made productivity a “little g” god.  A good portion of what follows Paul’s appeal for those prayers is his admonition to people of faith not to live in laziness, loafing, refusing to work and wasting time.  That seems like an odd combination for us to find an application for life today.  

What if our laziness, loafing, refusing to work and wasting time is really all about our choice to overlook prayer in favor of productivity?  Prayer is the quiet part of faith, often without recordable results. It’s also meant to be protection that keeps “us out of the clutches of evil men.”  We can clock our time in devotional study…√.  We can clock our time of service in the Lord’s name…√. We can clock our time of church participation…√.  Only the Lord can honestly clock the time we spend in prayer, “but the Lord is faithful.”

Maybe that is why Paul has chosen to remind me “not to live in laziness, loafing, refusing to work and wasting time” and make sure prayer IS consciously a bigger and better part of my productivity.  Mea Culpa! 

Acceptance

Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.[NIV]

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Trusting your heart and mind really are under God’s control has to become one of the main disciplines of experience for the believer.  There are other experiences we have a better handle on: gathering information from the Bible, the Church, Godly people, prayer and service in the Lord’s name.  OK, got it, now what?

That answer to “now what?” is so simple…and yet so much harder because the reality is even those disciplines are not our own.  They certainly express our faith, but where did that faith come from?  They’re certainly the evidence of experience that proves the reality of our desire to please God, but where did that come from?  Faith and desire both came from the simple acceptance of what God promised at the day of our salvation.  Simple right?

Just as faithfully as we practice those other disciplines of experience we need to learn to practice this simple truth…“I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  Simple acceptance is what makes this discipline of trust so much harder.  Can you believe God intends you to trust His presence in your mind and heart even when you fail, even when you don’t know which choice to make, or even worse, when you’ve made the wrong one? 

Dare to trust living with God’s real promise for your life and believe: “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.”  All it requires is simple acceptance…but it’s hard evidence of real trust in God.