Summary: Today is Valentine's Day. The day we celebrate love. So what better day could there be to focus on the love and heart of God? Doing a search on the phrase, God's love, took me to 2nd Thess. 3:5. Let's see what it means to have our hearts directed into God's love.
HEARTS DIRECTED INTO GOD'S LOVE
Today is Valentine's Day. The day we celebrate love. 'Tis the season where you see red hearts everywhere. So what better day could there be to focus on the love and heart of God? When I did a bible search on the phrase, God's love, the first verse that came up was 2nd Thess. 3:5.
I know I've read this verse plenty of times before but when I saw it this time it was like I was seeing it for the first time. I thought the wording was interesting and worth looking into. I thought it was profound and something we need to be praying for. So let's take a look at this verse and see what it means to have our hearts directed into God's love.
1) Directed hearts.
2nd Thess. 3:5, "May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance."
In context, Paul was talking to the church about standing firm and he prayed that their hearts may be encouraged and that they would be strengthened. He tells them the Lord is faithful and that he would protect them from the evil one. Paul states in vs. 4 that he's confident they will keep doing the things he had commanded. Then we have vs. 5.
To be directed is to be guided or led; to be instructed on where to go. In this case, the destination is God's love. But Paul's not referring to them being initially directed into God's love, as if they didn't have the love of God already. He commends them in his first letter for their labor prompted by love. He started the 2nd letter by thanking God for the love they had for each other.
So, Paul asking the Lord to direct their hearts into God's love was intended for a continual directing. We do need to have our hearts directed into God's love initially, but we also need to have our hearts directed into God's love continually; it needs to be maintained since we have an enemy who is bent on directing us away from God's love.
But what does it mean to have our hearts directed into God's love? Since vs. four talks about obedience, that's one of the ways we need to be directed into God's love. 1 John 2:5a, "But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him."
Some translate God's love as love for God. Both are applicable. If God's love is made complete in me than my love for God is made complete. And that complete love is seen in my obedience. Being directed into God's love is being directed in obedience to his commands.
Jesus told his disciples in John 14:15, "If you love me you will obey what I command."
Jesus joined love with obedience. If we are going to correctly respond to God's love in sending his son and Jesus' love in dying for our sins then we will begin to live our lives in obedience to his commands. And we'll strive to see his commands as a blessing. Not that obedience is easy but since we love God, obeying his commands is not a burden but a blessing.
Another way we have our hearts directed into God's love is through trust. Prov. 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
When we are directed into God's love we are given insight into all the valid reasons we can trust him. When we are outside of God's love in the sense of being loosely connected to God or being on the outer fringes, then we are going to have trust issues. It's hard to really trust someone you're not close to.
Being directed into God's love is being close to God. God's love is there for all of us but unless you're allowing yourself to be drawn in by that love you won't understand it. To trust the Lord with all our heart is to not have reservations about trusting him. A situation itself might cause us to be a nervous or even afraid but we don't doubt God's ability to handle it.
The love section in 1 Cor. 13 mentions that love always trusts. It also mentions that love always protects. If we can believe that God will always protect us then we can always trust him. Even when God allows the storm we can trust that he will protect us in the storm.
When we lean on our own understanding we are trusting ourselves. That means we trust the one who knows partially and sees vaguely instead of trusting the one who knows all and sees clearly. But when we realize that trusting God is always the way to go, we'll wonder why we ever doubted him. The more we're able to trust God the easier it will be to trust him wholeheartedly.