2 Thess. 3:5 - “May the Lord direct your hearts to God's love and Christ's endurance.”
By: Leigh Kohler, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Freedom Church Alliance
May 22, 2019
There’s a worship song from the 90’s that is still today one of my absolute favorites of all time. I can still hear the voice of the late Rich Mullins singing it in my head. It goes like this:
“Oh God, You are my God, and I will ever praise You. Oh God, You are my God, and I will ever praise You. I will seek You in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways. And step by step You’ll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.”
– Step by Step, written by David Strasser
I remember singing this as a high schooler in my youth group. Now, many years later, I still sing it to the Lord, and I tell Him I still mean it. A lot has happened in the years between, but when I sing it I’m also preaching to my spirit. I think it resonates with so many of us because it sums up the cry of our pilgrim hearts. It’s a song of surrender to our loving Shepherd. It’s a declaration that we are resolved to keep seeking Him, to keep walking in His ways and to always be His, come what may.
There are many twists and turns along life’s path. God’s ways and thoughts are higher so often we find ourselves in places and positions we did not see coming. Also, ministry is just messy. We are soldiers in a battle and there is no way to be all in and not get some battle wounds along the way. Whether it’s criticism, betrayal or just good old-fashioned discouragement (seems to be one of the enemy’s favorite tools), there is always the temptation to quit, retreat or maybe just play it safe and build a little wall of self- protection around our hearts to avoid hurt. But we must resist this temptation!
Scripture says that because of the increase of wickedness in the last days, the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). As believers we are not immune to this condition. It’s scary to think that we face the risk of having our hearts grow cold, which is why we’re told to keep forgiving, loving and being tender-hearted toward one another. The enemy seems to always be coming after our hearts – to keep us wounded, offended, divided and ultimately to shut us down. I have to often pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).
In these days of evil, we are going to have to be intentional if we are going to have blazing, tender hearts for Christ. We will have to keep letting Jesus heal us and to tend to our hearts. No amount of planning, strategizing or leadership training will be a substitute for guarding our hearts and keeping them tender and in the love of Christ. This is essential to our calling.
As we spend these days in focused prayer for awakening, let us resolve to break away from the noise of the crowd and our busy schedules to let our good Father tend to our hearts. Where there is hurt or unmet expectations, let us take it to Jesus and let Him tend to our wounds. Where things have grown complicated, let’s return to the basics of praise, thanksgiving and surrender. Where disappointment has set in, let’s stand in faith and trust that our good Father knows what He’s doing and is leading us step by step.
Father, all your ways are right and you are always faithful. We love you. We are yours. Where our hearts have grown cold, we ask you to forgive us, heal us, and touch us with the warmth of your Holy Spirit. Grant us fresh anointing in our Kingdom roles, and stir in us a passion for your name and a sacrificial love for others that will ignite a Jesus-movement around the world. Make us humble servants with tender, unoffended, loving hearts ready to receive the harvest of a great spiritual awakening. May your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.