Paul prays that Jesus and the Father would “comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word” (2 Thess 2:16–17) and “direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess 3:5).
From these prayers, we see that God desires our hearts to increase in comfort, strength, love, and endurance. How does that happen?
We at least know that it begins when we become Christians. Whereas our hearts are not right before God but yield all sorts of sins (Matt 15:18–19; Acts 8:21), God can open our hearts with which we believe the gospel to be saved (Acts 16:14; Rom 10:9–10). He cleanses the heart and indwells it through Christ by faith and pours His Holy Spirit therein (Acts 15:9; Rom 5:5; Eph 3:16–17).
As we have become obedient to His teaching from the heart, the heart better understands our Christian calling in time (Rom 6:17; Eph 1:18). We share and encourage one another’s hearts in Christian love (2 Cor 2:4; 6:11; 7:3; 1 Tim 1:5). As our hearts undergo sorrow, trial, and weakness (Pss 13:2; 25:17; 73:26), we must not let them harden, go astray, or fall to evil unbelief (Heb 3:8, 10, 12, 15; 4:7). Instead, we continue to love the Lord our God with all our heart (Deut 6:5; cf. Matt 22:37–40; Mark 12:30–31; Luke 10:27–28). The Spirit in our hearts and the hope of glorification gives us gladness of heart, whatever we may face (Ps 16:9; 2 Cor 1:22).
The Bible abounds with examples of believers with a transformed heart:
- David was a man after God’s own heart, faithfully obeying God, unlike Saul (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). Though not tall and imposing like Saul, God looked beyond his outward appearance and saw his obedient heart (1 Sam 16:7; cf. 2 Cor 5:12).
- Solomon was charged to serve God with a whole heart, knowing God would search it (1 Chron 28:9). His heart showed itself through his faithfulness in worship, building the temple of God.
- Josiah reformed the nation according to the Law of Moses because he turned to the Lord with all his heart (2 Kgs 23:25).
- When Paul likewise saw the sins of the Corinthians, he responded to them out of much affliction and anguish of heart (2 Cor 2:4).
- Nehemiah had a heart to listen to what God put into it from time to time—building the walls of Jerusalem and keeping track of the details pertaining thereto (Neh 2:12; 7:5).
- Matthias was chosen for the Twelve by Christ who knew his heart (Acts 1:24).
- Titus had a heart that was zealous to care for his fellow Christian (2 Cor 8:16).
We could say more and find more examples of how God changes our hearts to live out our love for Him. But, at least from this simple survey, we better understand and see examples for how our hearts can increase in comfort, strength, love, and endurance.
Be encouraged in your heart today!