How a Divided Heart Steals Your Joy
“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).
Last week we looked at this Psalm and considered what it means to fear God only. Cultivating a holy, reverent fear of God immediately challenges my divided heart. If I truly fear God, the motivation to divide my heart between the kingdom of God and the things of this world is driven away from me.
The enemy was able to drive a wedge in the hearts of the first couple in the Garden of Eden. They were created with the awesome opportunity to love God and God only. It’s unthinkable that they would do anything else. The great German theologian Karl Barth described the fall as “the impossible possibility.” Although it was possible, it was also incomprehensible. Yet the enemy succeeded by turning Eve’s attention away from complete trust in God and onto the prospect of placing her own needs and desires on the throne of her life. As she contemplated what it might be like to be like God, her heart became divided.
We reenact that sin every time our divided hearts convince us to play the lord of our lives and grab control for ourselves. Once the heart is divided, once we seek to have loyalty to two kingdoms with two different lords, we experience fear, stress, anxiety, and worry that were never intended to be in the heart of a child of God.
How do we reclaim an undivided heart? We can do so through worship, that is, a total surrender to the sovereign God and Creator of all things. It really comes back to a holy fear of God, that awesome, overwhelming understanding of God’s ultimate control of all things. From that fear come trust, faith, and deep-seated desire to walk according to His will in obedience and joy. When that kind of reverence and worship overwhelms us, it drives from our hearts every competing loyalty.
Where has your heart been divided?
There is a saying in politics that if you want to know the real reason why someone speaks, acts, or votes in a certain way, “follow the money.” I believe there is a parallel for us here in this lesson. If you want to figure out where in your life you have compromise, conformity, and disobedience, “follow the fear.” What you fear will lead you back to what you love, what you worship, and in what (or in whom) you put your trust. The challenge in today’s lesson is to follow your fears, your stresses, your worries, and your anxieties back to their source. When you arrive there, acknowledge your divided heart and pray that the fear of God and God alone may overwhelm you.