|A DIVIDED HEART|
What's going on in your heart today?
One of the many benefits of a Quiet Time, or a Morning Devotion, is the opportunity it gives us to hear from God about our heart condition. According to Paul, all of us suffer from Chronic Heart Disease (Romans 7:23). As Christians we are each a new creation in Christ, but we still live in an earthly body and are subject to the influences of our fallen nature---which Paul calls, the OLD MAN.
This morning I was slogging through Hosea 9-11 in my daily reading.
It's a little depressing reading about the spiritual failures, the whorings, of Israel that resulted in their captivity and ruin.
BUT---it is also instructive.
Proverbs 4:23 has some excellent advice for each of us:
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
When the Bible talks about our hearts it doesn't mean the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies. It means that part of us that is the repository of our thoughts, affections, and volition (our will---the part of us that makes choices).
Vigilant means, keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.
So Proverbs is telling us to be vigilant about all that influences our thoughts, our affections, and our choices.
Here's a little section from my reading this morning:
Israel empties his vine;
He brings forth fruit for himself.
According to the multitude of his fruit
He has increased the altars;
According to the bounty of his land
They have embellished his sacred pillars.
Their heart is divided;
Now they are held guilty.
He will break down their altars;
He will ruin their sacred pillars.
'Their heart is divided' sent up a red flag.
That's the point of real spiritual danger for you and for me.
This world---it's philosophy and it's temptations will always be appealing to our OLD MAN.
Israel's downfall can be traced back to greed.
They weren't satisfied with what God had given.
They began to worship the idols of those around them who prospered.
God said they had gone after gain on every threshing floor.
We know from the story of the Temptation of Christ that Satan has control over worldly prosperity and success and can give it to those he chooses.
The ease of prosperity and the seductive power of man's approval are just so attractive to our OLD MAN.
It's the stuff his dreams are made of.
Jesus gave us a little advice about our hearts in Matthew 6:21-22
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine
eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
The idea of a single as used here is also undivided.
Having just one thing in view.
Having your eyes on just one thing.
A single focus
Elijah pointed out their heart problems to the people of Israel when he had the contest with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.
1 Kings 18:21
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Every morning you and I get a chance to answer.
Every morning we get a chance to tell God He's the one we believe.
He's the one we choose.
He's the one we love.
Every morning we have a chance to let God search our hearts and know our anxious thoughts and see if there's any wicked way in us---and lead us in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
You and I made a choice, maybe long ago, to turn away from the stuff of the world and follow Jesus. Sometimes, though, we look back and see little parts of that life through rose colored glasses. We rewrite our own history and edit out the unwanted portions all the while clinging to things that we once decided to forsake.
Two things come to mind this morning: