True Gospel Longings
Thank you, Lord, for the way You work in my life and in the lives of my family members. Continue Your work in our lives.
Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6–13
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat do you long for most for the people you love the most? Pray that this passage might align your longings with God’s.
Even as Paul is writing this letter, Timothy returns with fantastic news. What seemed impossible in worldly terms was definitely possible for God. The church was born in the fires of persecution, but it is thriving. Paul’s fears were entirely baseless. You can sense the joyful relief on receiving this news (8,9). Paul’s labor definitely was not in vain. But did that mean he could rest up? Certainly not! Even at a remote distance, he could still serve them through prayer (10).
But notice what he prays for. He longs for God to supply what is lacking in their discipleship (10). There is always more to learn. We never graduate in the Christian life—at least not in this life! That’s why Paul prays for a reunion with the Thessalonians (11). But in the meantime, he prays for their love, courage and holiness to keep on growing (12,13).
Think of someone you know who is far from God. Pray for them this week to find faith in God.
Father, help me to find ways (however small) to grow in discipleship and Christian character.