Sunday, October 10, 2010

Divided heart

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.
Psalm 86:11 (NIV)

Things to do. People to see. Places to be.

Our days are filled with an abundance of commitments and activities. In order to respond to each task, we allocate the 1,440 minutes of each day among those things that vie for our attention--children's activities, church meetings, work, family obligations, social engagements, household chores, hobbies, sleep. And, the list goes on. Each activity in and of itself is considered good and, in most cases, needful. If we're not careful, however, we can develop the "divided-heart syndrome."

Hosea became a prophet at the end of the reign of the nation of Israel's last powerful king, Jeroboam II. The people of Israel had forgotten God's first commandment: "no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3) and the country was on a downhill spiral. They had hoped to "hedge their bets" so that if the Lord failed them they would have another god to rely on. And so the Israelites turned to Baal, a Canaanite fertility god, and found Baal's worship less demanding than God's.

In the Old Testament book of Hosea, the prophet uses three colorful figures of speech to describe the people of Israel's divided hearts. First, they were like a half-baked cake--burned on one side and raw on the other they were palatable neither to God nor the pagans (Hosea 7:8). Second, unaware of their spiritual decline they were like a proud man who can't see the signs of his aging (vv. 9-10). Finally, flying from one pagan nation to another looking for help, Israel was like a senseless dove (v.11).

Today, we as Christians are often afflicted with the same condition. We trust Jesus but are reluctant to commit every area of our lives to Him. We go to church but don't want to live out our faith each day if it means giving up worldly success or pleasure. A divided heart does not please God; nor does it attract nonbelievers to Christ. Unfortunately, it may take a crisis to show us our true spiritual decline. Not to mention, we live unfulfilled lives even as we flit from one activity to another.

My friend, just as the psalmist calls out to God to protect him from a divided heart, let's pray each day, "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name."

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

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