Picture yourself walking into a meat market or delicatessen and asking the clerk behind the counter for two pounds of chicken tenderloins and two pounds of honey-roasted turkey breast. After you wait several minutes, he hands you a wrapped package of the meat you asked for–except it contains just a pound of each kind you ordered.
So you return to the counter and complain about the short amount, only to have him reply that he did not feel like giving you the full amount today.
Suppose dozens of students are sitting in a classroom waiting for the lecture to begin on a particular subject that many need to learn. A few minutes later, the professor walks in, greets everyone, places her paperwork on the podium, and begins speaking to the class. Then, after about ten minutes, she says a few closing remarks, packs everything up, and leaves the room. Several students leave their seats, disgusted, and pursue the speaker down the hall. When they catch up with her, they demand to know why her lesson was so brief.
Her simple response: her heart was not fully in teaching this particular material right now, so she decided to cut the lesson short and go home.
What about a husband telling his wife not to interact with him for a while, because he has other priorities right now? He tells her that he would rather spend some time with his car and then watch some football games on the television in the garage. Then he tells her not to fret, because he will try to get back with her later on in the week.
Each of these scenarios sounds absurd and somewhat disturbing to us, yet we, as God’s children, often do similar kinds of things to Him. We tend to yield only a part of ourselves to Him many times, while we reserve the rest for our own selfish and worldly pursuits. But He says, “…ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 emphasis added).
The Lord wants all of our heart, not half of it, or even just a small portion of it.
The psalmist expresses what God really wants to hear from us: “With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments” (Psalm 119:10).
The more we seek the Lord, the more He will reveal Himself to us. A husband does not want only half of his wife’s attention and affection, and God likewise desires for us to surrender all of ourselves to Him. Then we will not only find and understand Him in an enlarged way, but we will also have to contend with less and less of our own sinful self.
We can see the potential harm of half-heartedness in the opening examples. The delicatessen or meat market may lose you and others as a customer, because their clerk had little interest in filling the orders correctly. Knowledge needed by students on a particular subject may remain limited and inadequate, due to the professor’s lack of desire to speak during their class time.
The relationship of the husband with his wife was most likely negatively impacted, because he chose to give his primary attention to inanimate vehicles and sports, rather than giving his prime time to the person he claims to love most.
The Lord will remain hidden from us and difficult to comprehend as long as we choose to put our heart and attention in someone or something else first. He will not forsake us, but He will withdraw from communing with us, since we have chosen to distance ourselves from Him.
We are promised in God’s Word that if we “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). And the psalmist declares, “…it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works” (Psalms 73:28).
Just how much do we value Him and His Word? Can we say, “I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches” (Psalms 119:14)? Are the temporary wealth and interests of this material life worth more to us than fellowship with God Himself, and looking forward to all He has laid out for us for eternity? Who benefits by giving the Lord only half of their heart, or even less? He does not benefit, and neither do we. The best thing we can do is to “… love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and…soul, and…might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
[Image credit: Gerd Altmann/pixabay]