May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blame-less and holy … when our Lord Jesus comes.
—1 Thessalonians 3:13
What does it mean when you hear that someone’s “heart is in the right place”? Usually it means you can count on that person to do what’s right, in line with living God’s way.
When Paul writes about our hearts, he’s talking about the core of our being, our real character, our true self. And he longs for believers to have a heart that is “blameless and holy” before God. That is a tall order!
How do we get a heart like that?
Not with delicate surgery in a hospital. We need hearts changed by the Spirit of God. We need moral, ethical change. We need thoughts that think about God first, and others second. We need help to do what we should do, but instead we often skip over and forget.
Paul’s letter offers a way to get that help. We can read the Bible, learn what God expects, and look for his Spirit to guide us. A person praying for us, as Paul did, can also help. A caring visit by someone like Timothy—to remind us of grace and forgiveness—would be encouraging also.
I find it most encouraging that we can ask God each day to “strengthen [our] hearts.” God is not a cruel teacher who throws a mysterious final exam at us. He is our Father, who loves us and wants us to have full life, now and forever.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10-12). Amen.
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