“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ 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).
2 Thessalonians chapter one ends with the first of Paul the Apostle’s prayers for the church at Thessalonica. This prayer features several characteristics that we can emulate as we pray for ourselves and others.
Paul began by reminding the Thessalonians, “We are constantly praying for you…” (CEB). In addition to Paul’s diligence in praying for the Thessalonian Christians, the content of those prayers included something important: a request that God would enable them to act in a manner that was consistent with what they professed to believe. Since it is impossible to live a God-honoring life based on our own limited resources, Paul interceded on behalf of the church at Thessalonica for God’s empowerment to help them “…do the good things you want and perform the works that come from your faith” (NCV).
The Scriptures often use the concept of “fruitfulness” to reflect this general idea. Just as we can identify a tree by the type of fruit it produces, we can often identify the presence of Christ in someone’s life by examining the “fruit” (or the identifying characteristics) that his or her life produces. In general, a God-honoring person will demonstrate God-honoring qualities (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). In other words, a Godly person will bear fruit that is consistent with his or her profession of faith in Christ.
We can help ensure that our lives produce the right kind of fruit by paying heed to the following message from Jesus to His disciples…
“…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:4-5, 7-8 NIV).
It is in this manner that “…the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him” (NLT).