11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Paul’s prayer is that his journey would go forth not because of human means, but by God’s grace. This is a prayer of trust and patience (indeed, Paul would not arrive to Thessalonica for another few years). In the meantime, Paul prays for the believers of the Thessalonian church. He asks God to increase their love and make it overflow, illustrating a spiritual dynamic that we can only love others when we ourselves are filled with love. Love cannot be given from an empty vessel. But as God pours His love into our lives, it overflows into the lives of others around us. Conversely, hate, bitterness, unforgiveness and anger can also overflow into others’ lives. Our spiritual states are contagious.
Finally, Paul prays that God will strengthen His people’s hearts so that they may be blameless and holy in the presence of God. This is an interesting connection – that through our hearts we will be made blameless. He does not pray that God will strengthen our abilities; that is, that we will be empowered to “do good things” or to be more morally upright. Those things are important, but they are not the starting point. Instead, Paul prays for a strengthened heart. This is because our behaviors, relationships and attitudes start in the heart. And we are not made blameless by what we do, but in our relationship with Christ.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Lord we ask you to shield us, our families, our churches, our cities and the nations of the world from the ravages of COVID-19.