2 Thessalonians 3:5 – “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
Have you ever set out to do something, only to get distracted from the task? It’s easy to do, because distractions are everywhere. It can be something on tv, a phone call, a text, something on the internet, another task that needs to be done, a person, or just simply a wandering mind. We are easily distracted. Studies say that most toddlers have an attention span equal to roughly their age, for example a 4 year old can concentrate for about 4 minutes. Unfortunately there is a point in our lives when those numbers don’t apply. Most 40 year old have a hard time concentrating for 40 minutes. Maybe at some age it begins to go backwards. We are easily distracted.
Paul knew this as he wrote to the church at Thessalonica. He knew that they could get distracted, not just from the tasks that they were doing, but they could get distracted from the reason they were doing those tasks. They could get distracted even from the person who gave them the abilities and the strength to do the tasks. We are easily pulled off base. We quickly fall off the path, our attention spans are short. For that reason when Paul wrote to those early Christians he said, “may the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” The love of God is the greatest thing in the world but we can so easily lose focus even from it. We can get distracted by sin or by stuff or by worry or by responsibilities that we forget about the life changing, life enfusing, power giving love of Jesus. We are easily distracted sometimes even by good things. We can be busy doing good things but forget the reason we are doing them or take our eyes off the love of God which is why we should be doing them in the first place.
No wonder Paul prays that the “Lord would direct their hearts to the love of God.” The word direct means to “straighten fully”. We quickly go off on tangents and chase after things much like a dog chases after its own tail. Paul prays that God would straighten us fully and set our hearts (our minds) 100% on the love of God. In other words he is praying that we would keep the Gospel before us. That we would realize that we are loved everyday and that that love would serve as the motivation for life.
He also prays that we would be directed towards the “steadfastness of Jesus”. What does that mean? The greek words means “cheerful endurance”. What a description of the Savior! Jesus cheerfully and even joyfully went to the cross. He endured all that He endured with joy. Why? Because He did it to glorify the Father and to show us the love of God. He did it so that we might be reconciled to the Father. Paul prays that we would be directed toward that “cheerful endurance”. You have to wonder why he does that? He does it so that we will be reminded to be joyful regardless of the circumstance because of the love of Jesus. We are to endure whatever we have to endure with that same type of cheerfulness and joy. We are loved by God and that should show by the joy that is in our lives.
It is easy to get distracted from what’s important. It’s easy to forget how much we are loved, but once you are set straight on the love of Jesus, once you realize what He did for you on the cross, it will produce within you an everlasting joy. Once you keep your mind and your heart focused on the Gospel by the grace of God then you can be like Jesus, and have that same type of cheerful endurance. Regardless of what happens in life you can have joy because you are loved by God. Keeping your eyes on this will not add days to your life, but it will add life to your days, as you live for His glory!