Journal 2 Thes 3 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored (as happened among you) and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men—for not all have faith.
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (and) We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thes 3:1-5
Observation: Notice that the implied message is about the local church, not about the unsaved masses…
Analysis: Preaching the gospel to the unredeemed is probably a given but preaching how to live the Gospel honorably appears to be the focus of Paul’s ministry (perhaps the rest of the writers of the New Testament as well).
How much do I read the Bible for someone (or something) else and not so much for the face in the mirror? I do it all the time—and must actively fight against it.
There are several “key words/phrases” found in these 5 verses and they can be unpacked individually for a whole study in themselves—perhaps the best way to start a study is to identify them and phrase them into questions:
- How is the Word of the Lord to “speed ahead?”
- How can the Word of the Lord be honored by someone like me?
- What is the Lord faithful in?
- If I am to be “established” by God, what am I to be established in? (Scratch off salvation and go further from there)
- Am I doing the things that the Holy Spirit commands? (Scratch off the Gospels for a while and focus on Paul’s writings for a season)
Much of this calls for deep thinking: About the Gospel; about the Fruit of the Spirit; about Gifts; about Grace and the “why’s” of Grace; about Worship (corporate through private); Biblical encouragement; Humility, and more.
This kind of “deep thinking” commitment is a multiple year commitment—it is not an eight-week study and done. I might (because I have a limited attention span) go to something else for a while but I do not remove a subject from the list—because a commitment like this becomes building blocks. For instance, I start with humility, then I look at the humility of Christ, leading to the Cross and how it intersects with Grace, and then what practical grace is about in the subject of personal humility and walk in it.
And that is just one of many possible starts…
David writes, calling out to God about the condition of his heart in Psalms 42: “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls…” Perhaps God does not answer often by calling a person into the shallows where children play, but by answering in the deep breakers and waves, pounding into me. (c. Ps 42:7-8)
How, then, do I begin to venture out into the “deep” of the Gospel?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in committing to read “Men are like waffles, Women are like spaghetti” with my wife, a thought about the difference between men and women struck me concerning the practice of “deep thinking.”
Are men committed to deep and profound practice of thinking, specifically about seeking Your Face? Certainly, You do not prohibit women from this, but do you specifically call men? Are the men reading this aware of this foundational calling on their lives?
Ah, just some thoughts written out loud to develop…Help me, O Holy Spirit, to flesh these out…
Ricky Two Shoes