By Caleb Duncan
Have you ever had a God-sized goal that seemed to fall apart? Maybe you had a dream for a ministry or some other plan for Godâ€™s glory and it seemed to lose traction before it began. Your intentions were good. Your heart was set! But when the rubber hit the road, it fell apart.
Several years ago, I remember planning for a large event. The event’s goal was simply to have a night of worship and share the gospel. In preparation, we advertised as much as possible with flyers, church announcements, and social media posts. We had asked musicians to come and lead worship with the expectation of a big turnout.
On the night of the event, we had 15 people show up. We discovered that we had planned it on the same night as another community event much more attended. We still had the night as planned but it was awkward in a large gymnasium with such few people!
Outside of bad timing and not acting in wisdom, one of the reasons that I believe this event also didnâ€™t have a great response was that we didnâ€™t spiritually prepare in any kind of way. While there may have been a few prayers, we did not ask for Godâ€™s blessing and seek his face about it. Have you ever had an experience like this?
One of the scriptures Iâ€™ve been studying lately comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. It says, â€œTo 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.â€
In this passage, Paul is offering a prayer over the Thessalonian church. Notice that he prays for them to live worthy of their calling by resolves for good and acts of faith. We live to glorify God through decisions and actions of faith that will bring him glory! But notice the caveat: by His power!
All our attempts to glorify God are impossible without the help and power of God. Itâ€™s only by Godâ€™s power that he enables our goals, plans, and decisions to bring him glory. Trying to live for Godâ€™s glory, apart from Godâ€™s power, is like flicking a light switch when the breaker is off.
You can try to change the light bulbs and flicker the switch all day, but you have no power when youâ€™re cut off from the power supply!
In the same way, we can attempt to serve God with our â€œplansâ€ in this life if we are disconnected from his power. He desires that we would be close to him.
Notice another caveat: â€œSo that the name of our Lord Jesus would be glorified in you, and you in him.â€ If we are trying to do something for Godâ€™s glory, but secretly and inwardly, itâ€™s really for our
glory, that too will fail. Make sure that if youâ€™re trying to live for Jesus, you are living for Him and not secretly for yourself.
God wants to honor your goals and plans for Him. But make sure you have the right intention. Thatâ€™s why Paul prays this prayer in the first place.
In order to echo his words, I pray that God would make you, the reader, worthy of his calling on your life, and that he would fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that Jesus Christ would be glorified in you.
Caleb Duncan is the Director for the West Florida Baptist Association in Chipley and holds an M.A. in Ethics, Theology, and Culture from Southeastern Seminary. Email him at WfbaDom@outlook.com or follow his Twitter @calebtduncan.