To be sure, the Christian is to walk in a manner worthy of their calling (Eph. 4:1). We are to set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2). We are to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). We are to lay up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33-34). We are to run the good race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith (2Tim. 4:7). But I am reminded this morning that, in all this holy determination to be holy, there is a dynamic that is present . . . an agency that is active. Ultimately it is what primes the pump . . . and is the fuel for the fire. It is that which, at regeneration, took my heart of stone and made it a heart of flesh. Any desire I have to please God is because of it . . . any motivation I have to live for God is sparked by it. It is the Director of my heart.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (2Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)
Paul wrote his letters to the Thessalonians to contend for their faith. He had only been able to be with them a few weeks when he had first led them to faith in Christ and established their gathering, before persecution arose from the Jews causing him to leave town (Acts 17:1-10). So they were babes in Christ left to fend for themselves amidst a hostile environment. Having received new birth, their lives were changed . . . as manifest by their faith which was spoken of throughout the region (1Thess. 1:7-8). Though the word of God had worked powerfully among them . . . though they had gotten out of the starting gate strong . . . Paul knew that the Christian race isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. And so he was concerned for them . . . and wanted to know how they were doing . . . and wanted to encourage them to keep on keepin’ on. And in that encouragement he appealed to the Director of their hearts.
And, as I sit and noodle on this verse, I’m again reminded that what has been a work begun by the Spirit will be a work that is perfected by the Spirit (Gal. 3:3). While there is a role for me to play . . . a determination to be determined and a discipline to be enacted, . . . apart from His continuing work in my heart, I’m destined to come up short. That’s the nature of the flesh . . . to fall short of the glory of God. That’s the necessity of the gift of God . . . grace which lifts up . . . grace which empowers . . . grace which is sufficient for all deficiencies.
And so Paul’s prayer is that the Lord, through the active agency of the Spirit of God, would direct their hearts. That the Counselor would make straight their inner beings . . . that the Power which raised Christ from the dead would remove the hindrances of the flesh . . . that the Illuminator would continue to reveal the eternal depths of the love of God . . . that the Third Person of the Godhead would enable the reality of a steadfast pursuit of the kingdom of heaven through Christ living in me (Gal. 2:20).
May the Lord direct your hearts . . .
Oh, the folly of trying to power through on my own apart from acknowledging my need for His continued active agency in circumcising my heart . . . in setting my affections towards Him and His holy place . . . in working in me “both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Php. 2:13).
Director of my heart . . . direct. Out of the abundance of Your grace . . . through the power of Your Spirit . . . for the glory of Your magnificent Son.