The YouTruth in 2 Thessalonians 3:5
“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
The old Beatles song told us, “Love, love, love, all you need is love.” Well, they got it wrong. It takes much more than that. You see, love without perseverance will wither quickly in the face of an unloving world, not matter how love-love-loving it is. That’s not to say that love is not needed, it certainly is. Perseverance without love always results in horrible outcomes. The work of [enter evil dictator’s name here] is resounding testimony to this fact. Love and perseverance must work together in order to be effective.
But that’s not all. Love, is an action. Actions take motion. Motion requires direction. For you, as a lover of Christ, direction requires that two things come together—God and your heart. While your hands and feet may set you in motion, your heart provides the direction. Allowing God to point your heart to the loving work He has for you is the final piece to the puzzle. Now, and only now, will you have all the necessary ingredients to love, love, love God’s way.
Your heart—provides the direction.
God’s direction—points your heart into God’s love.
God’s love—draw upon it. It is the love so deep that He sent His Son to the cross to save you.
Christ’s perseverance—for when the going gets tough. Tap into the perseverance of Christ, the very same perseverance that carried Him all the way through the pain and suffering at Golgotha.
Now you’ve got “all you need.” Go out into the world, and get after it!
The YouTruth in Ephesians 2: 8
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
There are so many areas of life that are tied to performance. Your job or career is certainly that way. If you perform well, you are compensated well. If you don’t, you may not be compensated at all. If you have children, you can face a lot of performance-related feedback as a parent. If your kids behave well, you may get praises. If they don’t, you may face judgment. Just about every area of life in the world can be pressure-packed by the need to perform well. Much of the stress you may face in life can flow from this phenomenon.
There is great news. Your relationship with God is in no way based on your performance. Let me restate that: You do not have to perform for God in order to secure a personal, eternal relationship with Him. The measure of God’s love that flows to you through your relationship Him is always turned on full strength. If you make mistakes, it still flows full strength. If you fail Him at times, it still flows full strength. Even in moments when you are acting purely in His will, it flows just the same. Nothing you can do can affect His love for you. It is a gift. All you have to do is receive it through faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Nothing else is required.
There is more great news. You can carry this gift into every corner of your life in the world. This gift has great power to dissolve away the performance-related stresses you will face. If you have a bad day at work, God is still pouring out His love, full strength. If you lose your temper with someone close to you, God is still pouring. If your child acts out at the grocery store, you guessed it, God’s gift is unaffected.
The YouTruth in Numbers 6:24-26
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
What a powerful prayer this is! It is filled with so many good things, it’s hard to know where to begin!
You may recognize this as a benediction prayer used in many worship services to send the congregation forth after worship. It has been used in this way for thousands of years!
The imagery of God’s face in this prayer is powerful and is key to understanding how you can harness the stated blessings of grace and peace. In Old Testament times, the quality of your relationship with God was illustrated by whether God’s face was turned toward you or away from you. “Why have You turned Your face from me?” is a common cry in the Psalms. It is important to understand God’s perfect, unchanging nature in order to properly understand what was really happening. God would be right to respond to such a psalmist’s lament with the same question, “No, why have you turned away from Me?”
This illustration can work for you today, too. When you seek after a closeness with God, He promises that you will find yourself in His light, face-to-face with Him. And when you do, you will be in prime position to receive the grace and peace He so longs to give you.
Seek His face today and receive the grace and peace He promises for doing so. (Don’t forget to pass on His bright-shining grace and peace to others, too!)