2 Thessalonians 3:5
5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
This is Paul’s pastoral prayer and wish for the church. He prayed that the Lord would “direct” their hearts. The Greek verb for “direct” generally means to guide one’s way straight towards a place. Paul’s desire is that every Christian will be constantly led forward by God into a deeper, firmer relationship with God and Christ. No higher prayer can be offered than this – that by the influence of the Spirit of God, we may be led into the vibrant, unhindered operation of God’s love.
Christians’ continuous advancement in their spiritual relationship with their God and Saviour must always be sought after. Their spiritual life should not be stagnant, but constantly growing towards greater experiences of spiritual realities.
Like Paul, who trusted the Lord to direct the believers, we too can trust and pray to Him for our spiritual growth. Without the Lord’s direction, we will be like sheep that have gone astray, prodigals that have left their heavenly Father’s loving abode. If we would pray, He will lead us back to His loving presence and establish us in His love.
Hearts led by the Lord will not only obtain the joy and blessings of divine love, but will also grow in their love for God. More love for God will be seen in all aspects of their lives. Their love for God will manifest in greater appreciation for God’s Word, greater commitment to prayer, loving and generous service in the church, enthusiastic communion with God’s people, and compassion for lost souls. It would be impossible to suppress their love for God, as they grow to love Him with all their heart, mind and strength. May it be our desire to love as God has loved us!
Together with “the love of God”, the apostle Paul also mentioned “the patient waiting for Christ”. The Greek word translated as “patient waiting” denotes the idea of “the ability to continually bear up under difficult circumstances”. Impatience does not go along with love. Love begets patience. Patient waiting is the fruit of growing faith and love. It endures all circumstances with constancy, courage and steadfastness. Like Christ, we must also patiently suffer all things in love, for we know He is coming again to reward us. Therefore, in anticipation of the Lord’s return, we ought to bear difficulties, offences and sufferings with patience.