Have you ever been in the car and your favorite praise song comes on the radio, causing you to belt out your own song of praise? Have the words from a song become so real and authentic that you wanted each and every one of them to ring true in your life? For a brief moment in time, the car becomes your own place of worship before reality slaps you back in the face and you find yourself just sitting at another red light.
Years ago, I remember being in my car and a song by Hillsong called “From the Inside Out” came on the radio. For the first time I felt my heart truly feel these words- I wanted them to be real in my life. Especially the lyrics- “In my heart and in my soul, Lord I give you control. Consume me from the inside out.” I felt something change inside me and for that moment I knew my life was to be lived for God- for Him to consume it all- to live for His praise and His glory.
From that moment on, every day and every hour I devoted my heart and my soul to living for God. Yeah, right! Oh, how I wish I could say that was true. My heart desires many things and constantly leads me astray. My heart is fickle, volatile, inconstant, and flighty- above all else my heart is divided. I feel like the man in Mark 9 who asked Jesus to heal his demon possessed son- his precious son who had been possessed since childhood. He came to Jesus for healing with a shaking hope that God would come through- the father asked of Jesus, “but if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus replied, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” The father immediately cried out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Such honest reply from a desperate man who only wanted his son to be healed but protected himself from rejection by not fully believing that “everything is possible”. I feel the same way about my heart condition- I want to say to God, “Here is all my heart; every last piece of it is yours. I am all in- consume me from the inside out.” But to be honest, my heart is not completely God’s; I do hold bits and pieces of it very tightly in my hands, not fully surrendering it all for the one who gave it all. Lord, help me overcome my “undivided heart”.
David is an example of a man whose heart was all in for God. David led with his heart and his heart was bent on pleasing God. As the author of many psalms, David constantly spoke about the heart, writing almost 77 verses about it. In Acts 13:22, God testified this about David: “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” David sought after God’s heart- he knew God as His Lord and Savior and chose to obey Him out of love and respect. Psalm 78:72 says this about David: “And David shepherded them (his people) with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them”. In Psalm 86:11, David asked God to “teach me your way O Lord and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.” David had a heart that was undivided, full of integrity and obedient to God.
If you are familiar with David’s story then you know that he was not a perfect man. David sinned against God but what set David apart and allowed him to become a man after God’s own heart was that he did not cherish sin in his heart. He allowed God to bring him to repentance and be turned back fully restored. David knew that God would clean him up and help him start anew no matter what he had done. After disobeying and disappointing God, David wrote these verses in Psalm 55:10-12- “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” David wrote these words after he had experience God’s forgiveness for his wrongdoing in the death of a man. He knew that as soon as he turned back to God with a repentant heart that God would remove all filth and bring restoration to their relationship.
How can we get a heart like David’s? How can my heart be undivided; only loyal to God? Based on the example of David’s life, there are a few key things we can do in our walk with God to allow our heart to be all in for God. First, we cannot cherish sin- when we have not dealt with sin, we remain out of sync with God. It is kind of like bad cell phone reception- you know the other person is on the line but you can’t hear them or they can’t hear you- the call keeps being dropped. That is what our relationship with God is like when we are walking around in our sin; clinging to those parts of our heart that we haven’t released over to God. Next, we need to turn back to God and ask for Him to not allow sin to rule over us- 1 John 1:9 says “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. This automatically happens when we turn back to God and ask for forgiveness but how many of us are not allowing the forgiveness to affect our behavior? How many times has God forgiven you but you haven’t forgiven yourself and you walk around life under a self-inflicting rain cloud of condemnation. Been there, done that, still do that… it is not fun and it is not what God has for us. Last, walk in obedience according to God and His Word. Find a group of friends to do this with whether it is a bible study group, an accountability partner, a spouse- you do not have to do this walk alone. Find “your people” to help you stay on the straight, narrow and often terrifying path- be honest about your struggles, fears, anxieties. Let God redeem you and others remind you of His redeeming power in your life.
How is your heart today? It truly is a day by day, step by step journey that we are on- look to be obedient and loyal to God in your heart today. As you daily set to make Him your # 1, He will ultimately become the only one who has the key to your heart.