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. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
“resolve for good…”
“work of faith…”
“[so that] Jesus may be glorified…”
I’ve known people in my life who have claimed a “life verse.” I think I’ve always secretly wanted to have a LIFE VERSE! You know, your go-to verse. A Bible text that you can claim as your life mission and life vision. That one sweeping sentence that reminds you of your purpose, redirects your pursuits, convicts and yet encourages you all at the same time. Your LIFE VERSE.
But, you can’t just open the Bible and resolve, “Today I am going to find my life verse!” A life verse has to come to you. It has to make sense. It has to move you, compell you, surprise you, and hit you hard every time you read it.
At least, I would assume? Like I said, I’ve never had a life verse.
My dearest friend has a life verse. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Talk about the best life verse ever! (Can I just steal hers?! I mean it does say “this is the will of God for you.” Talk about epic!) Anyway, every time she would struggle with something, she would reference her life verse. “I just want the joy of the Lord. I want to pray more. I want to rejoice no matter what.” Her life verse is legitimate. It isn’t just a sentiment, or something to have because you’re supposed to. It means something to her, and in every high and low of her life, she falls hard back to her life verse. I presume she will have her life verse for life.
She’s 15 by the way… (is anyone feeling particularly convicted here!?)
But another part of me has secretly decided to not ever find a life verse! I don’t want to be bound to ONE verse my whole life. It’s too much pressure, too much dedication, and too limiting. What if I find a life verse, then wake up the next morning and want another verse to be my life verse? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of a life verse? There are too many awesome verses out there to just choose one! Can the whole Bible be my life verse? Yes please.
Now let’s transition to this morning, when Bobby walked upstairs from his basement Bible time and declared, “I have a prophecy for us!”
“Oh dear. What now?” I amused as I realized these types of life-altering statements are reoccurring often in our home lately. I’m kind of entertained by them.
And of course, in Bobby-like fashion, he had to go into great detail before just telling me this “prophecy.” He said he started memorizing 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 in regards to seminary, which led him to read a commentary about it. He recited the verse to me, and then handed me the marked up commentary where he found the prophetic paragraph for us.
*”In my own life, my “compass,” that instrument that has guided me at times through life, is a time when I clearly heard from God. I was frustrated in both my job and my ministry and wasn’t sure what to do next. In a moment I felt/heard God tell me I needed to enroll in seminary so that I could prepare for a teaching ministry. I had no idea that day that God’s call included ten more years of graduate work and becoming a professor! But over the years, when doubt and/or frustration occurred, that moment in time reminded me of the direction in which God had pointed me, even if, like being lost in the woods, I wasn’t sure where that direction would lead.“
“I guess there are more people out there like me.” Bobby rendered in wide-eyed amazement.
There’s something shocking and yet comforting about hearing another person’s story that seems identical to your own. One voice in my head wants to complain, “Hey! That’s our calling! We are the special ones! You can’t say that. Don’t steal our thunder.” And then yet another voice wants to rejoice, “Whoa! God has done this before? God called another person to seminary? This guy has written a commentary! Are we going to be just like this guy then? Maybe this is prophetic!”
Ignoring now the voices in my head, and even the claim of “prophecy,” it is a little creepily awesome isn’t it? Confirming, comforting, and slightly eerie. It’s like, God’s Word works in mysteriously similar but unique ways in the lives of his people. And with the same Bible verse! It’s not like Bobby was reading a book about calling, or will-finding, or ministry, or the like. Unbeknownst to us us, Bobby’s Bible memorization lead to reading a commentary which the commentator applied this exact verse in the exact same way as Bobby did. God’s Word moves people in the same direction from all different starting points. We feel special, but yet not special at all.
God’s call is quite wondrously peculiar and familiar.
Okay. Fine. I’ll submit to a life verse… Or better yet, I will let Bobby summit us to a life verse. Yay! We have a life verse! 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. It’s final! You can even steal it if you want too. I’ll allow it. But only if you are planning on getting called to seminary, because that seems like the popular trend.
*“2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.” 1 And 2 Thessalonians, by John Byron, Zondervan, 2014, p. 246.