God's Present Presence

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.’

 

Observations: After telling us about the coming of the lawless one, or the antichrist, Paul encourages us to stand firm (v15). But then he finishes with a prayer that God would encourage us. In the first half of this sentence Paul reminds us of what we have been given. It’s interesting that Paul refers to both ‘our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father,’ but then follows with singular verbs. So rather than ‘they’ loved us, it’s ‘he loved us.’ Paul obviously sees both Jesus and God as one. It is both Jesus and God ‘who loved us and by [their] grace gave us ‘eternal encouragement and good hope.’ Paul links encouragement with eternity, and the fact that we have eternal life in Christ is exactly what encourages us in this life. And we don’t just have hope, we have hope founded on a good God who has only good I store for us. And both of these things are undeserved gifts. But then Paul prays that God would ‘encourage our hearts and strength us in every good deed and word.’ God has encouraged us, but Paul prays that he will continue to do so, but not just by reminding us of his grace, but in helping us to live in his grace. Our eternal destiny and hope should encourage us in word and deed.

 

Application: As Christians we don’t just look back to Jesus’ death on the cross for our encouragement. And we don’t just look forward because of our hope in eternal life. Rather we look up to God’s continuing presence in our lives as he encourages us and strengthens us in the present. God isn’t distant, he’s not active only in the past or the future, he’s active today in our lives encouraging and strengthening us through his Spirit. My pray is that we would experience God’s presence and power at work in our lives today.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I love to read Your word, particularly the parts that speak of Your grace in Jesus Christ and Your promises regarding the future, but Lord, You are also God of the present, and Jesus is with me right now through Your Spirit. Lord, I pray that I will be encouraged and strengthened so that every deed and every word may bring You glory. Lord, may I know Your presence with me today as I go about my life. Open my eyes to the ways that You encourage me, and give me the strength that I need to live my life for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

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