Saturday, August 14, 2010

Prayer for Steadfastness

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

5 Ὁ δὲ κύριος κατευθύναι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας εἰς τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ εἰς τὴν ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Paul is wrapping up his letter with his usual prayers and final admonitions.  I've been reading a book on Paul's prayers and so this one kind of jumped out at me.  This is one of the prayers that he wanted to record in Scripture, so I would think that it is pretty important.  Maybe it's something we should imitate.

What I see here is that we need God's help for our hearts to be directed to love Him.  I know my own heart and I see how vital this prayer is.  My heart manufactures idols quite easily.  It also tends to focus on me.  This prayer tells me that I need to pray for a heart that loves God more.  I know I often find myself praying this over and over again some mornings as my mind wanders when I pray.  I need God to keep me focused.

And how are we to be focused?  We need our hearts directed to the steadfastness of Christ. When I see τὴν ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ I realize that it is Christ's steadfastness that matters here.  The word τὴν ὑπομονὴν is in the accusative case, but τοῦ Χριστοῦ is in the genitive.  It looks like τοῦ Χριστοῦ modifies τὴν ὑπομονὴν.  In other words, the steadfastness that our hearts need to be directed to is the steadfastness that Christ has.

What does this do for us?  It tells us that we can look at Christ's life for an example, to be sure.  But it also tells us much more.  It reminds us that our salvation is based on Christ's perfect obedience.  It is not based on any of our own merit, but on His.  This means that our salvation is assured because He secured it for us.  This gives me great hope as I look at my own wandering heart.

How about you?  Are you basing your salvation on your steadfastness or on His?  My prayer is that as you read this you would reflect on the steadfastness of Christ and let that be your hope.

No comments: