Tuesday, July 3, 2012

With His Whole Heart

         “They shall be my people, and I will be their God. Then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.” Jeremiah 32:38-41.
                As I read these verses, I thought about the “one heart and one way” that the Lord God has given me. He is my God, and I am His child. He has given me everything I need to walk this walk of faith that He has prepared for me, through Jesus Christ I have the ability, and the equipment needed to take this journey of faith that He has set me upon. Nowhere does this “New Covenant” say that God’s goodness toward me is dependent upon what I do. He is not looking at the outward man, but God is concerned and intent upon what is on the inside of me. He looks at my heart.
                The word, “wholeheartedness” kept coming up in my study time and in my heart yesterday. I had to ask myself and my God this morning if I was in fact giving Him my whole heart. That was a tough question to ask, because in all honesty, the answer was no- there are areas of my life that I am still not ready to give over. There is still a sense of self lurking about underneath all this Christian clothing that I have on. And in all reality, as long as I am in this body of flesh, the battle for my heart will always be raging. My “self” wants me all to its own, to do as it pleases, but the Spirit within me, the new heart given to me by my God battles against that to bring me wholeheartedly to Him, to the One who gave His very life for me.
                The Lord tells Jeremiah that He keep His promise to us, to bring us to a place where He will give us one heart, one way, a fear to love Him forever. He will promise to always do good for us; He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He will rejoice over us. And He will do this with all His heart, and with all His soul. Is it any wonder then, that He asks we return that love with a promise to love Him with all our hearts and all our souls?
                Andrew Murray, in his book titled, The Two Covenants, writes “If we have at all understood the teaching of God’s word in regard to the New Covenant, we know what it reveals in regard to the two parties who meet in it. On God’s side there is the promise to do for us and in us all that we need to serve and enjoy Him. He will rejoice in doing us good, with His whole heart. He will be our God, doing for us all that a God can do, giving Himself as God to be wholly ours. And on our side there is the prospect held out of our being able, in the power of what He engages to do, to “turn to Him with our whole heart,” “to love Him with all our heart and all our strength.” The first and greatest commandment, the only possible terms on which God can fully reveal Himself, or give Himself to His creature to enjoy, is, “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart.” That law is unchangeable. The New Covenant comes and brings us the grace to obey, by lifting us into the love of God as the air we breathe, and enabling us, in the faith of that grace, to rise and be of good courage, and with our whole heart to yield ourselves to the God of the Covenant, and the life in His service.”
                To love God with our whole hearts means that the very inner man, the essence of our personality, the very seat and center of our lives belongs to Him and Him alone. There is nothing in us that is not His. Our whole heart is the very center of all physical and spiritual life; it is the soul, as a fountain and seat of thoughts, passions, desires, affections, appetites, purposes, and endeavors that God seeks to have complete and utter communion with. There is nothing in us, or within us, that God does not desire to be Lord of. He wants all of us, and He deserves no less.
                God tells Jeremiah that He will do all He desires to do for us with His whole heart and with His whole soul. He is telling us that with His innermost feelings, will and desires for us, He will be completely and utterly devoted to us, just as we are to be to Him. The very breath that He gave for me is the very breath that He desires to pour out into me. He asks for our all because He gave us His all. He asks for my all, because He first gave me all of Himself. His very essence, the very core of His being He desires to give to us, the question we have to ask ourselves is “are we willing to enter into this New Covenant with Him and give Him our all, our everything?”
                Andrew Murray goes on to say, “Wholeheartedness will lead you, and enable you to accept Christ’s command and sell all for the pearl of great price. Though at first afraid of what it may involve, do not hesitate to speak the word frequently in the ear of your Father, “with my whole heart.” You may count on the Holy Spirit to open up its meaning, to show to you what service or what sacrifice God calls you in it, to increase in its power, to reveal its blessedness, to make it the very spirit of your life of devotion to your Covenant God.” (The Two Covenants)
                God rejoices to love you, to pour out into you with His whole heart and with His whole soul. We, as His chosen people, as those who have believed in His saving grace, do we not owe Him our all? We love Him because He has done a work in our lives, He has cleansed our hearts, He has broken down the wall that separated us, and He has done everything possible to bring us to a place where we can boldly and humbly bow our hearts and our knees and say, “With my whole heart I will be Yours.” We have been given a new heart, and a way to do this- that heart and that way is through Jesus Christ, who gave His very breath so that He could be a part of yours. “With my whole heart” is truly my only response, for He deserves nothing less.
                Father God, You have provided a way for us to come to you with our whole heart. You have placed in us a desire to know you, to love you, to follow you, let us now come boldly to Your throne of Grace and say without hesitation, “With my whole heart I am Yours.” You call us to “come out from among them and be separate.” Lord God, with Your whole heart and Your whole soul You have poured out Your very breath for us, draw us to pour out our very breath for You. In utter and complete devotion may the cry of our hearts be, “With my all I will serve You, I will love You, I will be Yours and You shall be mine, through Jesus Christ my Lord who gave me His all.” May Your word be brought forth in the hearts of those who read these words today. May You be glorified, and may we, Your chosen people turn our hearts back to You, and You alone. In the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen and Amen.