God called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 2:14
This is one of those verses that when I read it, I think I have a general sense of what it’s saying but if put on the spot, probably would have a hard time articulating what Paul is actually saying. Thankfully, writing these devotions gave me an opportunity to read a bit more about what Paul is saying.
Paul uses the word “glory” to describe what it is like to be in the presence of God. Theologian Michael W. Holmes uses words like “radiance” and “splendor” when talking about being in God’s presence. This deep and abiding presence is what we were created to experience but was lost as a result of sin’s corruption of the world that God calls “good.” The absence of being in the glory of God is why we are so easily drawn into believing that the latest gadget, car, fashion trend, or vice will fill the longing we have inside. But we know that the longing really won’t be satisfied with any of those things, don’t we? It’s like putting a wrinkly dollar in a vending machine only to have it spit back out.
Paul reminds us that by following Jesus, we trust in the promise that one day, when God’s Kingdom comes in all its fullness, we too will experience the closeness to God that we saw in Jesus’ relationship with his Heavenly Father. The satisfaction of finally seeing $1.00 show up on the little red LED screen of the vending machine.
But here’s the best part! We don’t have to wait to get a glimpse of that relationship right now. God is extending an invitation for each one of us to experience this relationship with God right now.
Let that invitation to develop a closeness like Jesus had to his Heavenly Father be what guides us today in our own faith journey and what drives us to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all those we care about.