And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
— 2 Thessalonians 3:5
Often I am invited to attend meetings with other ministers in Moscow who gather to discuss spiritual leadership issues. These meetings take place in a different location each time in order to maintain a sense of neutrality, and they are often held in places that are completely unknown to me. In fact, trying to find the exact meeting room for these events can be difficult because the buildings are often expansive and the layouts unfamiliar.
Because of this potential difficulty, individuals are appointed to help guide leaders like me to the new meeting room. They meet each of us outside where our cars drop us off, and they escort us to the room where the event is to be held. If these individuals were not present to help us find the meeting room, we would all eventually find our way to the place where we were supposed to be, but the experience would take longer and potentially create needless confusion. Believe me when I tell you that we all greatly appreciate the service that these people graciously provide as they escort us right to where we need to be so expeditiously.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
Similarly, Paul taught that the Lord Himself wants to be our Escort to lead us directly into the love of God with no distractions along the way. In Second Thessalonians 3:5, he wrote, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God….”
Today I want you to particularly notice the word “direct” in this verse, as it reveals so much about God’s great desire to guide us directly into His divine love. The word “direct” is translated from the Greek word kateuthuno, which is a compound of the words kata and euthus. The word kata gives a sense of force or direction, and the word euthus describes a straight path as opposed to a path that is wandering or a route that is indirect. Although an indirect route may eventually get you to the same location, it takes longer; it involves unnecessary expense of energy; and it is more time-consuming. A direct path will get you to your destination more quickly and less expensively, and you will expend less energy. However, if you’ve never made the journey before, finding the shortest route may be difficult unless you have a guide who will direct and escort you along the way.
This leads us back to Paul’s teaching in Second Thessalonians 3:5, where he wrote, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God.…” The word “hearts” is the Greek word kardias, the plural form of kardia, which describes the heart. Although this word was sometimes used to denote the heart as a physical organ, it was regularly employed throughout the Old Testament, Classical Greek literature, and the New Testament to describe emotions, instincts, and passions. In Second Thessalonians 3:5, Paul used it to portray the inner aspects of a person’s life — intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually. Paul was literally praying for a person’s inner being to be directed into the love of God, as opposed to contrary paths that would lead elsewhere.
Furthermore, because the Greek word translated “direct” (kateuthuno) in this verse begins with the prefix kata, we see that God does more than merely guide and escort us. He wants to meet us and lead us so our hearts don’t wander aimlessly on the way to completion in His love. In the context of Second Thessalonians 3:5, it tells us that God Himself wants to put us on a straight path and steer us right into His love. In fact, the word steer is exactly how the word kateuthuno (“direct”) could be translated in James 3:4. God doesn’t want us to waste time and energy or to take too long to get into His love. He wants to steer us right into His love. The Lord desires to put us on a straight path and be our personal Guide, escorting us into His love with no distractions or unneeded detours along the way.
An interpretative translation of the first part of Second Thessalonians 3:5 could read:
“May the Lord steer your hearts and put you on the path that leads you directly into divine love itself. We pray that you encounter no rough roads on this journey but rather that your heart reaches its ultimate destination — the love of God.”
As you grow in your relationship with God, remember that He wants to meet you and escort you along every step of the journey. He doesn’t just say, “Here is what I want for you — now figure out how to get there by yourself.” God wants to step in front of you and lead you! If you’ll listen, you’ll hear Him say, “I’m here to lead you, so follow Me, and I’ll lead your heart to the place where I want you to be — right into the center of My love!”
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
I prayerfully admit that so often I have tried to figure out my route in life on my own, even though God has desired to lead me each step of the way. My heart moves out of peace when I struggle to figure out what steps to take, which way to go, or what to do. Since the Holy Spirit wants to be my Guide to personally escort me into His perfect plan for my life, I surrender to His leadership today and yield to Him as my Escort. Father, thank You for meeting me where I am and leading my heart on the most direct route into Your plan and Your love.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
Today I declare that I am sensitive to the leadership of the Lord in my life; therefore, I no longer wander aimlessly about as I attempt to fulfill God’s will for my life. I want to do God’s will, and He wants to lead me so I can get into the center of His plan more quickly, less expensively, and without wasting needless energy. Instead of trying to figure it all out by myself, I will heed God’s Word; I will carefully listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit; and I will let the Lord be my personal Guide to escort me along the path of His love and into His plan for my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a time when God wanted to lead you on a short route to His destination, but you didn’t listen? Did it end up costing you more time and energy than was necessary for you to get into His will for your life?
- How do you know when God is leading you? What are the signals you sense when the Holy Spirit is saying, “Follow Me, and I’ll get you there more quickly and less expensively?” Could you describe to someone else what it’s like for the Lord to lead you on a straight path?
- Can you remember a moment when you didn’t listen to the leading of the Lord and ended up way off-track? What did it cost you? How would things have been different if you had listened? What did you learn from that experience that you would want someone else to learn so he or she could avoid your mistakes?