I’m easily distracted. Really, I am. Something shiny (physically or metaphorically) catches my eye and my head snaps towards it. How easily it lures me in. Likewise, I’ll be working on a task in one room of the house, walk into another room, and get caught up in some other needful activity. Before I know it, I’ve unwittingly abandoned the thing I set out to do. It’s a kind of benign dualism, but what I need is an undivided heart.
It’s no good when distraction grasps at my heart. Then, the benignity of my divided attention is tarnished. When the world woos me with approval and validation, I cannot fall prey to its allure. I must find my value in God Himself. The affections of the world are changeable. If I yield to them, I’ll end up bereft of worth when they shift. And how constantly they shift.
When the world woos me with approval and validation, I cannot fall prey to its allure.
Similarly, the things I value most highly cannot have their origins in the world. Though they may provide pleasure, validation, and entertainment, they are hollow and can’t withstand tempests.
The fortress of God’s love is where I must abide. In that place, my heart must be wholly towards Him. Otherwise, it may be rent in two by being stretched across the altar of the world’s promises. The Psalmist writes:
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
Psalm 86:11 (NRSV)
I want an undivided heart because God has one towards me. His affection and loyalty were spelled out in crimson at the cross.
There was no Plan B because Jesus was focused on doing what He came to Earth to do. He had a single purpose – to do the will of His Father.
What response could I have to such lavish love but to pour out all my hopes, dreams, frustrations, and failures to the One who can handle them?
Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on this Psalm was first published in 1869. Little about human nature seems to have changed since he penned these words regarding Psalm 86:11:
Unite my heart to fear thy name. Having taught me one way, give me one heart to walk therein, for too often I feel a heart and a heart, two natures contending, two principles struggling for sovereignty. Our minds are apt to be divided between a variety of objects, like trickling streamlets which waste their force in a hundred runnels; our great desire should be to have all our life floods poured into one channel and to have that channel directed towards the Lord alone.
-Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David
I love the imagery of our minds and hearts being divided “like trickling streamlets which waste their force in a hundred runnels”. Lord have mercy. I don’t want my life to be a hundred puny trickles into the sea of eternity. I want it to be a flood of love poured out in service to Him.
When my heart is divided, I can’t be used effectively by God. A wandering heart is not a focused heart. I may miss out on some things by choosing to live this way. No matter. Such things aren’t worth having anyway.
God help me to remember my purpose, which is to glorify You and share Your love with others. Let my satisfaction and validation come from the anticipation of one day hearing You say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. Redirect me when I stray, and give me an undivided heart. AMEN.
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