“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s
love and Christ’s perseverance.”
(II Thessalonians 3:5)
Thoughts… Paul’s desire for the Thessalonians—which of course, is God’s desire for all believers—is really quite simple: To love like God and to patiently endure like Jesus.
Yet when you think about it, this is deeply profound. In light of all that Paul has said in this letter about the duties of Christ-followers during the difficulties of the last days, we Christians desperately need the Lord to lead our hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God.
Though “love” in our world is a concept terribly misunderstood, misused and even abused, and in that corrupted state, overused, we would do well to make a study of God’s love in Scripture in order to gain a correct understanding of it. To truly understand love, we must begin with God’s love, since God is love. He authored love, he is the very expression of love, and he is the sole source of true love. God thinks love, he feels love, and he acts in love—he cannot help himself, for love is what he is. In order for us to be led into a full expression of God’s love, we first need to understand it—if one can truly ever understand the depth of his love.
Not only do we need to study God’s love in Scripture, we need to study God’s love as it is expressed in the person of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the highest expression of that love is seen in the patient endurance of Christ. Jesus is the consummate visible, physical, literal expression of God’s love, and in particular, his death on the cross for unworthy sinners like you and me is the ultimate definition of enduring love.
The love of God expressed through his Son, Jesus Christ, was not some sort of fair weather, sentimental, feel good sort of love, it was a tough love that hung in there when there was absolutely no reason, apart from his own loving nature, to hang in there. Yet he hung in there, literally, hanging on the cross for our sins.
That’s the kind of enduring love to which we have been called.
So how does your love measure up to that standard? Not very well, you say. Me neither!
How do we develop that kind of enduring love? Study it—for sure. Ask for it—of course. But mostly, we must surrender our will to the only one who can transform us into that kind of patiently loving people—the One who directs our hearts into “God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
Prayer… Lord, bring me into a deeper understanding of your love—and may I be radically transformed by it. May the testimony of my life be that I became the expression of your enduring love.
One More Thing… “Love means loving the unlovable—or it is no virtue at all.” —G.K. Chesterton