16 May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
In his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul offers this prayer up for them. He does this immediately after exhorted them to stand firm.
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15
The prayer is closely tied to this exhortation as standing firm is not something Christians are expected to do via their own strength, but with help from Christ Himself and God our Father. Paul can encourage all he wishes and his encouragement pales beside the eternal encouragement and good hope that comes from Jesus and His Father.
This is why Paul prays the same Jesus Christ and God our Father who encouraged Paul and his companions will also encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. For us we should read this as encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good deed and word or making it more personal encourage my heart and strengthen me in every good deed and word.
Paul is also making it clear that all he does is a result of the God’s grace that he receives eternal encouragement and good hope. We often read of the many incredible things that Paul accomplished, but here in these two short verses he is giving credit to his ability to stand firm is from the grace granted through God’s Son that he is able to do so.
Instead of some form of hero worship for Paul, we are given an example of what is possible each and every one of us if we will stand firm based not on our own strength of will, but on the free Gift of Grace granted through God’s son which gives us eternal encouragement and good hope. Eternal encouragement and good hope – yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
With this encouragement we may also be able to say at the end our earthly lives.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
It is God’s desire for us to be encouraged and to stand firm so we might finish the race while keeping the faith. Let your heart be encouraged!