Are we more dedicated to service than to God?
We want to be dedicated to God, but often find our hearts being lured in other directions. We can hold back, giving God part of ourselves but not all. Scripture suggests that complete dedication to God is possible because God, by grace, is in the process of helping us give more and more of ourselves to God. No matter how much we are committed to God, we all experience occasional resistance to God. There are still parts of our lives that we cling to as our own. There are times we want to live our own way rather than God’s way.
The wish prayer in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 gives hope to those of us who would like to be more fully dedicated to God. In the NRSV the first part of this verse reads, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely.” The fact that Paul and his co-writers pray that God will cause the Thessalonians “to be completely dedicated to him” gives us hope because it implies that this quality of dedication to God is possible. But even if we believe that complete dedication will only happen after our mortal lives are over, there is still in 1 Thessalonians a strong assumption that we can in fact become more and more dedicated to God in this life. (See, for example, 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:3; 4:7.)
So, the wish prayer in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 gives us hope. But, if we want to be more completely dedicated to God, our first move isn’t to try harder, but rather to pray. God, by grace, will indeed help us to be more dedicated to God and God’s kingdom if we ask.
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