An Undivided Heart
Enjoy this week's email from Gordon Steere, the elder who works with Discipleship.
This year I will be celebrating a milestone, turning 65. I know for some of you 65 seems old and for some I am still a youngster, but hitting a major milestone like this has caused me to spend more time reflecting on my Christian life.
One of the most challenging and convicting verses of scripture for me is found in Philippians 4:12-13. Paul says “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
Can you imagine living a life of full contentment in every situation? It almost seems like an impossible dream. Most of us seem to carry a sense of being unsettled or unfulfilled or anxious about what the future holds but Paul says with confidence that contentment is available to all of us through Christ.
As I think about why I lack contentment I confess that I have a major gap in my relationship with Christ. Yes, He has rescued me from death, redeemed me and forgiven my sins. Through His death He has cancelled the charges against me and taken it away, nailing it to the cross. I am His. He owns me. I have been bought with a price!
Then why, even as I recognize Christ as God as the Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of all things, is it that I conveniently dismiss Him as owner of my life, my desires, my goals?
How does the Bible show the keys to a contented life?
First, I need to recognize I truly belong to Christ. Not just when I die and go to heaven but with every breath I take here on earth. My life is in His hands. He owns my possessions, my health, and my relationships. I just need to get my will out of the way and look to Him in every aspect of the life he wants for me. Some renowned verses:
- Ps. 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing”
- Ps 31:15 “My times are in your hands”
- Ps 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no evil for you are with me."
- 1 Cor.6:19-20 “You are not your own; you were bought at a price”
Second, His desire is FOR me. I am His treasure and I can count on His unfailing love and faithfulness. Here are a few wonderful verses that come to mind:
- Heb 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
- Rom. 8:28- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
- Rom 8:31- “If God is for us who can be against us?”
- Rom 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Phil. 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
- Ps. 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
- Ps 37:23-24 “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him: though he may stumble, he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
Finally Psalm 86:11 says” Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; Give me an undivided Heart, that I may fear your name.” That is the root cause of our contentment problem; we have divided hearts. It’s part of that sin nature that we carry- recognizing Christ as Lord when it is convenient for us while we continue to strive to be our own masters.
How do I bring my heart together?
By changing my thinking.
By setting my mind on things above not on things on earth.
By having more conversation with God continually throughout the day, not just in the morning or at night.
By recognizing the infinite power and value of God’s word because He speaks to me through it.
By seeking out and learning from other believers.
In these very troubling and uncertain times I pray we cling to the verse “I belong to my beloved, and His desire is for me” and make it a true reality in our lives giving us peace and contentment in all circumstances.
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