Rule this heart of mine, O swift God of the elements, that you may be my love, and that I may do your will!
- Anonymous, On the Flightiness of Thought (Irish, 9th cent.)
I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
- Psalm 119.32
We are the sum total of the things we most desire. What we love, what we want, we move toward with all the fabric of our being. Strong affections direct our thinking and planning, sort out our priorities, and guide our actions. Thus we move body and soul toward that which we love, that for which the strong desire of our souls most fervently longs.
Given that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, it's a good idea, from time to time, to assess the strong desires of our hearts, just to make sure they're inclining us in the right direction. Prayer and waiting on the Lord provides a proper context for such activity. But so also does looking at our lives - how we spend our time, strength, and wealth, what we get excited about, what we neglect or keep on some "back burner."
Rick Duwe, who led me to Christ over 40 years ago, explained to me, in those early days of faith, why I was not making any time for prayer or Scripture reading. He said, "We will do in our lives only and exactly what we want to do, and nothing more. So when you want to begin spending time with the Lord, you will. But for now, you need to admit that you prefer to do other things more." And he was right.
The condition of our hearts will be visible in the activities of our lives. If we love God with all our heart we will certainly spend time with Him. We will learn to love His Law and to walk in all His commandments. We will rejoice in His salvation and in talking about Jesus and making Him known to others. When we love God we will engage much in conversation with Him, and be ever eager to discover more of His glory in Scripture and creation.
But if we're too busy with other things, other interests and activities, for such employments as these, it simply means that our hearts are not very large toward the Lord. They are devoted, rather, to other things. These may not be bad things in themselves. However, if they are attracting more of our love - measured by the way we use our time and strength - than the things that draw us near to the Lord, these things to which we give our time and strength may be in the process of becoming idols.
Our greatest joy, highest privilege, and richest pleasure in life is in knowing God and Jesus Christ, and enjoying the glory which they are eager to reveal to us by God's Word and Spirit. If we have little heart for this, let's admit it, shall we?
Then we can begin to plead, with the psalmist, that God would enlarge our hearts toward Him and rule our hearts to love Him and do His will.
Today at The Fellowship
ReVision - The search for perfection can be disappointing and frustrating - unless we seek it as Jesus instructs.
Bookstore - Want to know how to grow in your love for God? Get the book, I Will Be Your God from our online bookstore, and learn about God's wonderful covenant and your place in it.
Pastors' Fellowship - This is the last week to reserve your space for next Monday (5 Eastern) or the following Thursday night (9 Eastern) as pastors gather to discuss pastoral vision - what it is, why we need it, and how we can get it.