I sometimes played a thinking game with my youngest son as I drove him to middle school. Examining different life situations, we would ask two questions: Did the person do the right thing? Did he or she do it for the right reason? We realized a person could easily (or sometimes, not so easily) do the right thing, but still blow it because it wasn’t done for the right reason. Then, too, someone could do something with the right motive, but not do the right thing. And sure, there was always the possibility of doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason.
- Think of some hard situations you’ve been in. Did you do the right thing for the right reason?
READ THE WORD: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (ESV)
11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
- What were the three main items on Paul’s prayer list in this passage to the Thessalonians?
- Who did Paul use as an example to the Thessalonians of how to love (vs. 12)?
- What was the bottom-line motivation for Paul’s prayer (vs. 13)?
- What are you seeking from God as you pray for yourself and others? What’s on your list? What motivates you to godly living?
RESPOND TO GOD
How you pray reveals a lot about doing the right thing for the right reason. The world teaches us to care for ourselves, because no one else will. So we pray for protection, safety, comfort, success, and material things. But as we get to know God better, we find ourselves trusting him, desiring to please him, and learning to fit in with his plans. As a result, we move beyond prayers solely for our well-being, instead asking to be in real fellowship with other believers in Christ and to be growing in our love not only for them, but also for all people. Like Paul, we pray with the bottom-line motivation that God would establish our hearts as blameless at Jesus’ return (or our death).
- Review, with Jesus’ help, the things you seek and ask from him.
- Pray, focusing on things that matter most to God, as you look forward to his imminent, personal return.