May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 NIV
I am one who is quick to ask for directions. I don’t like being lost. Even with our smart phones, things can go haywire. Once when we were traveling in South Carolina, our electronic map got us turned around, lost, confused and we were just wanting to get back to the trailer after a long day of sightseeing Patriot’s Point and Fort Sumter. It was frigid and we had been outside all day, it was getting dark and rush hour was upon us in Charleston. We prayed like mad because we didn’t know which way was the correct way back to Myrtle Beach; God directed our paths immediately, including past an awesome, familiar store so we could buy some eats and get warm.
A memorable time.
Why? Because when we needed direction, God delivered. We were never outside His reach, His care, His love; and that applies to today as well.
God takes delight in directing His children. He can see the beginning to the end and He knows what is best for us – that’s called the Sovereignty of God. He directs our hearts unto Him and His righteousness.
How does He do this? Many ways – His Word, prayer, sermons, wise counsel, in silence. His Word can speak to us as we do a general reading, or when we search for specific answers. For me, there have been times in my normal reading and study of Scripture words will leap off a page that describe exactly what I am going through. Or they could bring words of comfort, or conviction. God could be directing me too in a decision that is needing to be made.
Paul was praying that God would direct the Thessalonian’s hearts into God’s love. What an incredible prayer. Our hearts into God’s love. God’s wonderful love that sent His Son to die that we might live (John 3:16). God’s love that made the heavens and the earth. God’s love that found us and continues to move us forward into a deeper walk with Him.
When we ask God for directions He directs us into His marvelous kingdom of love. And we are forever changed as we were once lost but now are found – in Him.
The latter half of the verse is what grabbed my attention because it has something that grips us – Christ’s perseverance. We like to focus on Christ’s love and His faithfulness to us. We like to bask in His presence and know that He is our Good Shepherd.
But when we talk about His perseverance, there is a pause. What was He persevering? The pain, affliction, beatings, mocking, cruelty and the Cross. He endured and He did so willingly. He was obedient, humble, made Himself nothing, a servant. Because of His perseverance, God exalted Him to the highest place and
gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
This is the perseverance Paul is praying for the Thessalonians and in turn, us.
Honestly, this frightens me at times. If I were to know that I would still be dealing with broken feet 2 years and 3 months later, I would have run on the same broken feet the other direction. I would have buckled and bolted. Who signs up for this? Willingly? I guess maybe Paul knew our lives would be made sweeter by the suffering and afflictions that we faced and endured. By the Holy Spirit’s guidance he knew that he needed to pray for us to be directed INTO Christ’s perseverance. We wouldn’t go there on our own volition. I avoid those type of lines – like a rides at Disneyland. One does not necessarily choose the A ticket rides when an E one is available.
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of
the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV
God is working in our lives; He is doing a sanctifying work which He directs. Our belief gets us started on the road and His Spirit focuses our attention on the map – the Scriptures, the Truth so we know where to walk. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), so when we focus on the Truth we are actually focusing on Him and our feet can saved from stumbling, turning to the right or left – we can walk straight.
May we heed His direction, step into God’s love and accept Christ’s perseverance as our own. What next step is God calling you to?
Father God, I thank You for the leading You very willingly give. You direct our hearts into You. You lead us into Christ’s perseverance so we can endure, be made more like Your Son and have a vibrant relationship with You. All for Your glory, power and honor. AMEN