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An Undivided Heart

Back in the days when my twins were toddlers our life was hectic.  One of my biggest challenges was keeping up with two active little people who each had minds of their own.  Inevitably, we would go outside and each of them would take off after their own pursuits.

My heart was divided – which twin do I chase after?  It agonized me at times to think that, while I was getting one child to safety, the other might be getting into serious trouble.  The conflict in my mind was great.  I felt so much easier when I had the two of them inside, in a single safe confined location.

King David knew the pitfalls of feeling divided.  In Psalm 86 he asks the Lord:

“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.” (verse 11 NIV)

David had been battling many enemies, some within his own camp.  He knew that his battle forces would be stronger if they had a united front.  He also recognized the need for that same undivided thinking in his personal life.

He recognized that God had saved him – now what?  David knew that it was God who preserved him, not only on the battlefield, but for his eternal salvation.  He wanted to live a life of devotion to God and not be distracted by the things of this world.

I can understand David’s feelings.  After being given a clean bill of health from cancer, I want my life to mean something.  My life has been a very divided one, with interests and connections in a variety of forms.  I have been so busy trying to keep each area of my life going that often, nothing really gets done that well.  For example, I want to give my best to my career, but that means time from my family in the evenings.  I want to spend time caring for my family, but that means less time for other things that needed doing…and so on.

Asking God for an undivided heart is a truly meaningful experience.  It’s saying that I trust the Lord to manage all the areas of my life.  It also means that I look to God to establish my priorities and give me single focus.

What matters most is my faith in Christ as my Lord and Saviour.  The rest is an outpouring of the Spirit working through my life to reach out and share Christ’s love with others.  Unless what I am doing fits this purpose, why do it?

In Ezekiel, as the Israelites were being brought back to their homeland, God speaks of giving them undivided hearts:

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19 NIV)

It is a transformation – a total change from where they had been.  The Israelites had sought idols and other pagan things and where had it got them – exile.  Now they were being given another chance and God says He will help them and restore them.

It is time to think about being focused only on our commitment to God.  Anything else that divides our hearts tears away at our devotion to Christ and His saving work.  

What pulls you apart today?  Are you trying to do too much?  They might all be good things, but are there so many things on your plate that God is getting pushed aside?  Is your mind moving in all kinds of directions, not focusing particularly on anything?  Are you tempted by things of this world and that interferes with your relationship with Christ?

I know I very much need a single-minded focus on God and His plan for me.  I must trust in Him to manage all my tomorrows.  When things of this world want to pull me in multi directions, I need to take a step back and pray for an undivided heart.

This a huge area of dissention in my life right now.  It is time to redirect my prayers in a new way – 

“Lord, give me an undivided heart.  May my focus be on You and Your purpose for my life.  Help me to see those things that draw me away from Your grace and mercy.  Strengthen my commitment to You and when life threatens to pull me apart, draw me close.  May my life reflect the great love You have for all mankind.  Thank you for directing me on Your paths.  Help me to stay focused on what truly matters.  Help me eliminate those things in my life that divide my heart and loyalty.  Teach me what to do that might life may be pleasing to you.  Lord, you have given me another chance at life.  I commit that life to You.”

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