Imagine Paul just prayed this prayer for you. Paul was asking God to provide these things for his friends. Even if Paul didn’t particularly have you in mind, all these years later let me direct this prayer to you. I’ll use Paul’s words because they are just that good. And timely.
Am I the only one that feels overwhelmed when I turn on the news? I’ve started getting my news from a Christian source that has already sifted through all the noise of the media to pick the stories that seem to be most fact-filled. As a writer, it’s hard to admit that other writers (journalists) are seemingly being manipulated by society to write with a certain slant or bias. Have you noticed that the same stories sound different depending on who is telling the story?
Paul’s message is so timely for me. “For I want you to understand what really matters,” Paul says. Clearly, there were distractions in his day, too, that were trying to block out God’s message. When is the last time you saw anyone grab their Bible to find an answer to a problem situation?
Paul wanted his friends to “live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” That tells me Paul believed Jesus would be returning soon. For us today, we must wonder if the hour is close. I’ve been involved in many conversations of late, and the consensus is “Jesus, you can come anytime, we’re ready!”
A few years have certainly passed since Paul penned this prayer to open his letter. Yet we can still tap into Paul’s optimism, despite the fact he was imprisoned as he wrote this letter. We need to continue focusing on being ready for Jesus’ return. When we live our lives with that lens, it only makes sense that we would want to learn what we need to do and “keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.”
How are we supposed to know what a “pure and blameless” life looks like unless we turn to Scripture? Do you think we’re going to find such things in a different book sitting on the shelf? Jesus is going to return, and we need to be ready. I can’t think of a better resource than the one you’ve opened today–God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit will also reveal to us truths in Scripture when we ask. When we are walking with Jesus and seeking to be more like him, we experience the fruits of that relationship. Paul prays that his friends will “always be filled with the fruit of your salvation.”
Paul was on to something! Those “fruits” or attributes, I’m guessing, are the same ones discussed by Paul in Galatians 5. When we are in alignment with Christ and living a life that is pleasing to him, we can experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Let’s pray … Lord, I am so grateful for the fruits you so freely share with me. Despite what happens around me, I am always filled with a joy and peace I can’t begin to describe. Help me to stand firm and resist the fear that tries to break in and disrupt my joy. Keep my eyes focused on you and my salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.