“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith” (2 Thessalonians 1:11 NIV).

GOD IS NOT INDIFFERENT TO OUR GOOD INTENTIONS. He will honor the goals of our godliness and help us bring them to fulfillment. It is critically important, of course, that our goals be consistent with God’s will, but if that is the case, we need have no doubt about where He stands with respect to their accomplishment. We are not simply on our own, trying as best we feebly can to do God’s will. We are His beloved creatures, and He has a vested interest in our success. If there is any question whether we are going to “make it,” our Heavenly Father is certainly not neutral on that question. As the writer of Hebrews reminded his readers, “God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name” (Hebrews 6:10).

Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians was that “[God] may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith” (NIV). Consider a few other translations and paraphrases of this text. “We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things that you hope to do and that your faith makes you want to do” (Contemporary English Version). “[We pray] that his power may bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every act inspired by faith” (Revised English Bible). “[We pray that God] by his power may fulfil all your good intentions and every effort of faith” (J. B. Phillips). And Kenneth Taylor renders it: “[We pray that God will] make you as good as you wish you could be!”

Speaking of the dream that keeps the athlete going despite difficulty and defeat, sports announcer Bob Costas once said at the opening of the Olympic Games, “We are beaten only when we quit believing in what we wish we could be.” If this is true in athletic endeavor, it’s even more true in our godly endeavors. What we wish we could be — in God — is very, very important. We dare not give up these dreams. And we dare not underestimate God’s interest in making these dreams come true. Godly goals are greater than any other because He is their object — and because He Himself is the help that will carry us where we need to go.

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish” (Michelangelo).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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