Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5
An implicit reference to the Trinity is stated here. “Now may the Lord direct your hearts” is a work which properly belongs to the Holy Spirit. “The Lord” here would be, in Paul’s mind, the Greek rendering of the divine Hebrew name of God.” In the Greek, it is a general word for God, but the order of the verse is showing us that he is thinking of the sacred name first, which he then breaks down into the Persons and workings of the Godhead.
“Into the love of God” gives the sense of, “So that you may love God.” This doesn’t mean that they didn’t yet love God, but Paul is petitioning that they will always be directed to love God. It is comparable to saying to a couple on their wedding, “May the power of love direct your heart into the love of one another.” They are already in love, but the appeal is that they will always be in love, and drawn into the love of one another. It is as if the love is a safe haven from all the cares and worries which could otherwise steal away the joy of being united. And to ensure that this love is strengthened so that it can be realized, he finishes with “and into the patience of Christ.”
Christ was able to face His trials patiently because his heart was fully directed to the love of God. But it is also true that His patience in those trials made it possible for Him to be directed into the love of God. The two work hand in hand to form a complete whole. In our trials, we need to be patient, understanding that God has a good end for us, even if the immediate moments are seemingly unbearable. And, in our trials we need to direct our hearts into the love of God so that we may be patient through the trials. Each is a part of the whole, and together they will keep us on the right path towards the good end which lies ahead for the people of God.
And these things are needed based on what he had said in the previous verse. He had just said, “And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.” By having our hearts directed into the love of God, and also by having the patience of Christ, we will certainly have the desire and the ability to do the things we are commanded to do. This is Paul’s heartfelt prayer for those in Thessalonica (and thus us!).
Life application: Times of trial are certain to come, but if we are properly directed, and if we are determined to patiently endure them, then those trials will not destroy our faith. Instead, we will be able to maintain it through the trials. If we are lacking these things, we should pray for the Lord to direct us and establish us in them. He will graciously grant such a request, as He has done for the countless faithful who have gone before us.
It is a tough life, O God. Even on the best of days, we can get misdirected and tossed about in a moment. In this, we can quickly lose our direction. How much more true is this when extended times of trial and trouble cross our path. In such times, help us to remember that You are there. Direct our heart to loving you even more, and give us the patience which Christ Himself demonstrated in His own hour of trial. Surely, as He prevailed, so we can too. Help us in this, O faithful and glorious God. Amen.