The last verse of 2 Thessalonians 1 gives us a good goal for a new God-given day.
To 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. (1:11-12)
The name of the Lord Jesus glorified in me. Take a few minutes to turn that phrase over in your mind. There’s an enormous difference between “The name of the Lord Jesus glorified in me” and “The name of Jesus sung by me on Sunday” or “The name of Jesus attached to the end of a prayer when I need something.”
“His name glorified in me” isn’t a weekend hobby, an empty cultural tradition, or Plan-B when life isn’t going my way. “His name glorified in me” puts me in the backseat. “His name glorified in me” makes my name smaller and his name bigger. “His name glorified in me” redefines my goals and reorients my life. It’s the reason, my (and your) life’s purpose, the point of discipleship. “I bear his name. I’ve submitted to his Lordship. In good times and tough times, when it seems to come naturally and when it demands denying myself, I will honor him in every aspect of my life.” That’s the target for which “his name glorified in me” is aiming.
The apostle Paul briefly references a few of the ways “the name of the Lord Jesus” was being “glorified” in those Christians in Thessalonica:
- Their faith was growing abundantly (1:3)
- The love they had for each other was increasing (1:3)
- They were exercising steadfastness, enduring in the face of persecutions and afflictions (1:4)
- They believed and were devoted to the testimony of the apostles (1:10)
- They trusted that God was transforming them, making them worthy of his calling (1:11)
Meanwhile, in the background, working its way to the forefront of Paul’s second letter to these Thessalonians is an urgent and powerful truth: the King is coming. The Lord Jesus is going to be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. “To this end,” Paul was praying for these disciples, writing to them, warning and encouraging them…
…that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him… (1:12)
Slow down and think carefully, deeply about what we’re being told. These ordinary men and women lived and served and died 2,000 years ago. The King didn’t come in their lifetime, but their lives were not wasted. Their story is not over. Glory is coming. They lived for, have a share in, and will experience that glory. Those saints honored Jesus in their present so that when he is “revealed from heaven” in the future, he might be glorified in them, and they in him. Their living for the sake of Jesus’ name contributed, continues to contribute, and will contribute to glory yet to be revealed. Death was not their end. The best was and is yet to come.
What can I possibly do or live for today that could EVER reverberate 2,000 years into the future? The name of Jesus, glorified in me. You and I live centuries after this letter was written on the other side of the globe, but our aim as disciples is precisely the same: to live, serve, love, mature, sacrifice, and endure in ways that honor Jesus. All else fades and fails. The Lord is and will always be.
Take the time throughout the day to remind yourself of this reality: the King is coming. When he comes, he will be glorified in his saints–past, present, and future–and they in him. The lives of those Thessalonians were not wasted. Their story is not over, and neither is yours. Glory is coming. In the meantime, “his name glorified in me” is life the way it was meant to be.