“Oh, that the Word of the Lord Would Run and be Glorified!” (2)
For the word to go forth
in power to others
it must first go forth
among the believers
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified, even as it is also with you.
— 2 Thessalonians 3:1
As we considered in the previous Note, the only thing that can check the spread of spiritual darkness in this country is for the Lord’s word to go forth again in power. And for this we need to pray, asking the Lord, as the verse above says, that His word would “run and be glorified”; Amen! (See)
But, after exhorting us to pray for “the word…to run and be glorified,” the apostle adds this qualifying clause, “even as it is also with you.” He seems to be saying that the extent to which the word can “run and be glorified” with others will be governed by how much it first runs and is glorified with us as the believers in Christ.
In brief, if we desire for the Lord’s word to affect others, it must first affect us! The writer of Hebrews compares the Lord’s word to a two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12), and in Revelation, when John first saw the Lord, “a sharp two-edged sword” came forth from His mouth (Rev. 1:16). For the word of the Lord we speak to cut others, it must first cut us!
This should be obvious, but we need to be reminded of it. We may decry the situation of society around us, but the real problem is not with society, nor with the sinners, but with the saints: so many of us are simply not in the word as we should be. We may loudly declare the Bible is our unique standard, or that it is the infallible word of God, but that means nothing if we ourselves are not in the word. Rather, it is like how Mark Twain defined a “classic”: “A book everybody talks about but nobody reads.”
If, on the contrary, we want the word of God to be real to us, we first need to be those who take the time to read it and meditate upon it in a consistent way; as we all know, in these days, this is no small thing; it is a real struggle to do so. But, as I have said elsewhere, we cannot know the word of God if we do not know the words of God. I do feel that if the believers were more exercised simply in this regard, it would have a great impact on this country. (And one very specific and practical way to do this is to commit to reading through the Bible once a year.)
But we also need to allow the Lord’s word to work within us, to shape us and mold us; we do this by dealing with the Lord concerning the things He touches us about in His word. Then, as the Apostle Paul tells us, we will be “transformed by the renewing of the mind” (Rom. 12:2), and in our living we will express something of Christ.
Only then will we be able to truly pray as we should for the Lord’s word to go forth. Hudson Taylor, the great 19th century missionary to inland China, said, “True prayer requires strength.” Only such a life will provide us with the base we need in order to have the spiritual strength for such prayer.
So we surely do need to pray for “the word of the Lord to run and be glorified.” But, we also need to be in the word, and allow the word to work in us, so that we may have the kind of living that will support such prayer.
May the Lord make it so!
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— 28 October 2023 —