“We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thes 3:4-5).
Paul had great faith in the Thessalonians. He was confident of their obedience to the gospel and all that he had taught them. Yet he continued to pray for them that they would not grow weary in doing good. He asked that God would direct their hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
This made me think of my many years as a boy growing up watching the conductor. From the 4th to the 6th grade I sang in the Honolulu Boy Choir. We were strictly trained to keep our eyes on the director, Mr. Hallman. During the concert we were never to take our eyes off of him. And we were never to do anything distracting to the performance, such as even to scratch an itch! Then from 5th to 12th grade, I played the violin in various orchestras. We always needed to not only keep our eyes on the sheet music in front of us, play our instruments well, but also be always keenly aware of how the symphony conductor was directing us with his baton. If he went slow, we went slow. If he began gesturing wider and with more energy, then we were also to start playing louder, following him exactly. Only if we were to all follow the director together would we play in unity and sound great. Later as a college student, when I traveled for a summer singing with a youth music ministry, the Continental Singers, I was well trained to follow the conductor during concerts. And as a member of various worship teams, I learned to follow the worship leader so that I wouldn’t detract from the congregation’s worship experience but rather blend in as a seamless and complimentary layer.
In 2 Thes 3:5, Paul blessed the Thessalonians that God would direct their hearts. Of all the instruments I’ve studied, the heart … the heart is the most difficult instrument to play, but has the potential to be the most beautiful. When I first started playing the violin, it was awful to listen to. My playing was high-pitched, scratchy and out of tune. I wonder what our hearts sound like to the Lord? Yet if we press on, our hearts can sing and make beautiful music to the Lord. Our heart conductor is the Lord. We must learn to keep our eyes fixed on our True Maestro as we live out our lives.
Paul prayed that God would direct their hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. What does that mean? He prayed that they would abide more and more in God’s love, that they would know how much God loves them and people, that they would live always fully aware of God’s love.
And he prayed that the Lord would direct their hearts to the steadfastness of Christ. Jesus never gave up. He was fixed upon the task that the Father had put him to do. The work of God was His food. He was so steadfast. He walked the straight and narrow. He did not swerve or get distracted. He was determined and focused. He was most of all faithful. He did what the Father did and said what the Father said. He was obedient. He was trustworthy.
God, You are my heart-director! O Father God, be like my symphony conductor. Let me keep my eyes upon You. I need to watch Your baton. I must go slow when You go slow. I must go fast when You go fast. I go loud when You go loud. I move when You move. Help me to be steadfast as Christ was on earth and let me abide in Your great love.