“And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:4-5).
We can associate the word “confidence” with the quality of trust in the reliability of a person or thing. While confidence can often be a valuable asset, it’s important to consider the object of that confidence. You see, confidence can be a good thing when it is placed in the God of the Scriptures. But it is also something that can lead to failure when it is built upon our limited talents, attributes, skills, or abilities.
The Apostle Paul demonstrated the proper role of confidence in the lives of God’s people as he expressed his assurance that the Christian community at Thessalonica would follow through upon his directives. Notice that Paul’s confidence was not placed in the members of the Thessalonian church. Instead, his confidence was based upon the Lord’s ability to enable them to fulfill His agenda. As Paul once remarked to another first-century church, “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
He then followed with his expressed desire for the Lord to direct their hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ. This reference to the “heart” is a Biblical metaphor that deserves closer attention, for similar references appear over one hundred times within the pages of the New Testament Scriptures.
The word “heart” is translated from the word kardia in the original language of this passage. It also forms the basis for our modern-day word “cardiac.” When used in this context, the heart refers to our innermost being in a physical, emotional, or spiritual sense. Just as our physical hearts are internally concealed, so it is true of our spiritual and emotional hearts as well.
Although we cannot see the existence of physical heart disease without the use of advanced technology, we can certainly see the external effects of such disease upon those who suffer from it. The same is true of our emotional hearts as well. While we cannot physically detect the presence of spiritual heart disease, we can often discern its presence through the actions of those who are afflicted with it.