Sometimes what I want conflicts with what I want. I mean, I want to have a closer relationship with the Lord, but I also want to watch the office (for probably the 74th time). I want to pass the test, but I also want to go hang out with my friends during the only time I have to study. What I want in the moment conflicts with what I want in the long run. There is a division that happens inside of me and it is terrible.
I like to believe there is NOTHING I truly want more than to honor God and grow in my walk with Him. Deep down I’m sure you’re the same way. We want to do what is right and to make good choices. We want to love people, treat them with kindness and help them find hope during life’s dark moments. Unfortunately, there have been too many moments in my life when I also want something that is in conflict with my desire to please the Lord. This is why I find the word God gave to Israel through His prophet Jeremiah so important.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Wholeheartedly. With all of my heart. All of my affection. If I take all my desire and seek after the Lord alone, I will find Him. That is what I want, but too often I have found myself with a divided heart. James tells us what it’s like to have a divided heart.
James 1:5-8 (NLT) If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
When I read this, it has hit home more times than I can count. I have had divided loyalty between God and the world. Have you experienced that? Divided loyalty leads to us feeling unstable and unable to receive from God. It’s an incredibly frustrating experience because I know that His ways are best for me and I want to receive everything He has for me. More than that what we need to receive most is God’s Himself, to be in His presence. Yes, it is His presence that sustains us through the highs and lows of life. His presence is our source of peace, strength and joy.
The divisions of our heart create division from God’s presence. Our heart longs for the closeness found beneath the shadow of His wings. There is safety and security in the closeness found under His wings and I long for it. To be so close that I can hear His heartbeat, that my heart would begin beating for the things His heart does.
Yes, how many times has my faith not been fully established in Christ? I ask the Lord to deliver me from the storm, but I also run to anyone who will listen or I try to avoid dealing with the problem by staying busy and occupying my mind.
How many times have I asked God for wisdom, but have failed to trust God alone for the provision? Our actions always reveal where our faith is placed. Do our actions reveal that we are turning to God alone or are we grasping at anything that seems like it will work?
Are we seeking God wholeheartedly or are we divided? The good news is that our hearts don’t have to stay divided. We can choose to cut out false pursuits and give all our affection to the Lord. So today I will choose to do exactly that. Later on tonight, I will make that choice again. Come morning I will make that choice again. This is not a choice I can make only once and be done with it, because my affections constantly shift and my desires come and go, however, I still have the power to choose. So I will remind myself of God’s Word and renew my pursuit of God every single day. Or as many times a day as it takes.
Reflection Question: What are some desires you have that conflict with your desire to pursue Jesus?