“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways”
Has your heart ever been divided? I’m not talking about a broken heart, but rather, a heart that wants to opposing things. For you Twilight fans, maybe you are torn between Jacob and Edward. For you who are trying to be good and get in shape, it’s that struggle between getting out for your walk or getting comfy on the couch with a bowl of ice cream.
When it comes to our faith, our hearts are easily divided. There is a part of us that greatly desires a closer connection with God, a greater intimacy, to know His presence and to hear His voice calling us to follow Him. At the same time, there is the other part of us that is overwhelmed and distracted by the clamor of the world, calling us in so many directions, competing for our attention, demanding our service. We want to pursue God, but we also know that we want to take care of ourselves. We want to live for God, but only when we’ve secured a good life do we think we can begin.
The Psalmist in the passage above recognizes this division of the heart, and offers the solution. “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain.” This is first and foremost a prayer. Unless God turns our hearts back to Him, we will never have hearts that beat for Him. We will always be divided, always be running away, always be seeking the worthless things of this world, unless God first turns us back to Him.
Before God turns our hearts to Him, we think we have everything we need. We build homes, we build families, we build careers, we build retirement funds, we build reputations, we build a name for ourselves – all to makes ourselves feel secure. But, as Psalm 127 says, “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Anything that we create for ourselves apart from God will never stand the test of time. Nothing apart from God can ever bring the security that knowing God, and knowing His grace in Jesus Christ, can give. As Paul came to realize in his letter to the Ephesians, “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Eph 3:7-8). Compared to the glory, the joy, the peace that comes from knowing Christ, everything else is seemingly worthless. It may be good (family, work, success, pleasure), but compared to the greater good of the glory of God, it is meaningless.
When God turns your heart to Him, He is all that you will want. Everything else will still be there, and you will still find pleasure and joy in the blessings that you have, but that joy and pleasure will be purified and redeemed because your heart will no longer be divided. May God give you a heart that beats for Him alone!
Grace and Peace,