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Why You Need an Undivided Heart for God

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

Growing up in the country, we had more than our share of houseflies. We kept a flyswatter at hand, ready for battle. But by the time the weapon was activated, the pesky varmint took flight and landed somewhere else.  And so it went. Swat and miss. Swat and miss. We even had terms to describe the enemy’s behavior. They flit (dart about aimlessly) and light (country slang for land).

Often, our relationship to God is like that of a fly. We dart about from one place — or thing — to another. One day we’re all in for God, and the next we find a worldly pursuit that takes priority. When that happens we suffer from a spiritual condition called a divided heart.

In our focus text, the psalmist desires to be instructed in the way of the Lord.

Why is it important to learn the Lord’s way? I’ll explain that with an illustration from life. I want you to come to my house today. Clean it, mow the lawn, do the laundry, and cook my favorite meal for me.

You’ve got a lot going on in your life, but since you are a good person, you agree to take on my project.

When you arrive at my place, you’re shocked to learn that my lawn is overcome with weeds and hasn’t been mowed in months. Inside the house, dirty clothes are strewn all about, trash and garbage abound, and the kitchen is piled with dirty dishes.

You’re not excited about this unexpected challenge, but you said you would do it, so you roll up your sleeves and get to work.

In the garage, you find my lawn mower and quickly discover, it’s broken. So is the weed-eater. Inside the home, things are no better. The washing machine and dishwasher are broken, and you can’t find any cleaning products — not even a mop or a broom.

Frustrated and angry, you call me to tell me you can’t handle it. You didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. This just will not work out.

“Where are you?” I ask. And then you learn what you should have known. You were at the wrong address.

If you hadn’t rushed out the door, I would have told you where you were going and how to get there. And when you encountered difficulty, all you had to do was call me. I would have gladly helped.

The Lord imparts knowledge to His followers. But we must invest time and effort to learn from Him. “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness.”  Knowledge of the Lord and His ways results in God-reliance and not self-reliance.

We don’t have to flit about aimlessly in life. He is faithful to the faithful.

A few days ago, I watched Bill Gaither’s TV program on PBS. His featured guest was the singing group, the Martins. The trio shared the story of their childhood, and they referenced their country home on the state line between Louisiana and Arkansas. Two places at once. One foot Cajun, and one foot Razorback.

That arrangement works out fine geographically, but not spiritually. Christianity was never intended to be a part-time relationship with our allegiance shared between Jesus and worldly endeavors.

Jesus said:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

When we fail to learn from Him, and then follow fleshly ambitions and desires, we show our hearts to be divided.

The Lord has a better way. May we learn it, follow it, and make our prayer that of the psalmist: “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Amen.

Want to learn more about the faithfulness of God? Read this devotional: The Flawless Forever Faithfulness of God

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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