A Committed Heart
Father God may our prayers be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear today. We give you all praise, all glory, all honor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Beloved, I’d like to pray for you from Ephesians 3. “I pray that God would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love, that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
The next step in our heart makeover is having a heart fully devoted to Christ, a heart that follows and worships Jesus and a life committed to God. “Commit” is a strong word- a word we hear a lot as adults. We make a commitment to our husbands in marriage; we make commitments to our children’s schools and churches to volunteer. We have commitments at work. The Bible speaks much about commitment. God wants us to have hearts FULLY committed to him. He wants us to be completely devoted to Him, and he wants our lives to be committed to him. He doesn’t want to be in competition with anything for our love and devotion.
Our key verse is Psalm 37:5. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Listen to that relationship again- COMMIT YOUR WAY TO THE LORD, AND TRUST IN HIM AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHINE LIKE THE DAWN!
Have you ever been outside at dawn? I love it! I like to get up early and walk in the morning. There is nothing more beautiful and magnificent than God’s sunrise. The sky starts out dark and begins to fill with a pink glow, and as the sun makes its way over the horizon, the light is brilliant with hues of red, orange, and yellow. The dawn is breathtaking. When YOU are committed to God, YOUR righteousness is breathtaking- it shines like the dawn. And your cause shines like the noonday sun. We all know how bright the noonday sun is. We bring out our sunglasses to shade our eyes from the brilliance. Well, how do we commit our lives to the Lord?
What does that mean? What does that look like?! Commit is an action verb- it requires that we do something. What do we do and how do we do it? In today’s culture living for God seems impossible.
I remember from my college days a dance song that rang out “You got the PO-WER!” I would do aerobics to that song and it inspired me to achieve more. I felt I had the power. As a Christian, as a Believer in Jesus Christ, you have the “PO-WER”! You should be confident of God’s POWER INSIDE OF YOU! We forget sometimes that we do have a power inside of us- the Holy Spirit! We forget there is a trinity- God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit! THE SPIRIT OF GOD LIVES INSIDE OF YOU! God has given us that Spirit to help us. It is our helpmate, our counselor. We should have complete confidence, not in ourselves, through the power of our own strength, but by the power of God’s strength inside of us. Jesus said in Acts, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” 2Corinthians 2:12 says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God.” And the Bible says in 2Corinthians 1:22, “God put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Yes,Beloved, you have the power to live for Christ! How? You have the power of God living inside of you! You have God’s Holy Spirit inside of you. Galatians 2:20 says, “Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” And Galatians 4:6, “Because you are his (daughters), God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba Father’.” And 1Thessalonians 1:4 says “We know (sisters) loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with POWER with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” And 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of POWER, of love, and self-discipline.”
God, the Father, has given us a power over sin, over temptation, over the desires of the world. He has given us power to devote our lives to Him. But, there are many things pulling our devotion away from God. There are many tough choices we have to make daily. The world seems so inviting, so innocent. We have become such a “me-centered” culture. The world says we need to please ourselves. It says we need to look out for ourselves, or no one else will. The world tells us to indulge ourselves - everything is OK, as long as we are not hurting anyone else.
Life becomes a pursuit of our pleasures, without any regard to God’s plan for our lives and holy living. We allow ourselves to be seduced by our selfish ambitions, sinful desires, and the lure of the world. When people see us and how we are living our lives, they may not even realize we are Christians. But, AS Christians, we need to be set apart from the world, and the ways of the world, living lives holy and pleasing to God.
Do you remember the little Sunday School song, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going to Let it Shine”? Our words, our actions, our choices need to shine with the light of Jesus! Again, Reader, this world is NOT your home! Jesus said that to be a friend of the world was to be an enemy to him. You cannot have 2 masters- you cannot serve both God and the world. Peter tells us to “live as strangers here on earth.” He says in 1Peter 2:11 “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” Another translation puts it like this, “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. DON’T INDULGE YOUR EGO at the expense of your soul”. (Message)
So many of us are too cozy, too comfortable in the world! We accept too many things that are not glorifying to God. We think that they are okay because they are politically correct, or because our friends think they are okay. We’ve relaxed our standards. We’ve gone away from God’s standards and used the world to guide our decisions, ideals, and morals. We have become too cozy in the world, too comfortable with its morals. We have been distracted, deceived, and led astray by our longings for the worldly. Do we seek the presence of God or the approval of the world?
Our generation has been on a pursuit of perfection- perfect skin, perfect bodies, perfect husbands, perfect children, the perfect career or volunteer “career,” and the perfect model home. In the process, we have traded in what is “perfect” for God’s best in our lives. We have missed out and gotten “sucked in.” But that time is over!
I believe God has a call on this generation of women to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to change this generation and to teach the next generation of women. God is raising up women who have hearts desiring change. Change begins with the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Paul continues in verse 13, “By the Spirit put to death the misdeeds of the body and you will live.” And Galatians 5:16, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
I believe God is bringing us, as Christians, back to living a life of purity. For several years we have shied away from the idea of “purity.” We never wanted to be “stuffy,” and now we want to be “cool” and we must be “politically correct!” As a generation we ran from the image of “Puritans,” and today we embrace our “tolerant” views and opinions. We don’t want to be seen as “holier than thou,” and we think anyone trying to be “holy” is only being hypocritical.
But, God calls us to a different standard. He is calling His Church back to purity and Godly living. He is calling us to be holy, to be sanctified- set apart in Him and for Him! Again, Christians need to look different than the “world.” In fact, the “world” also yearns for us to be “different.” Shouldn’t Christ in us empower us to rise above the pull of the wordly, living in complete freedom and liberty? Shouldn’t we be special…different? Shouldn’t we have the aroma of Christ? “He has anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us.” We are His dearly loved children and His bride. We must take that position, and take confidence in it! We need to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to put on the robes of righteousness and “live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.” (Colossians 1:10)
Thankfully, we don’t live this way on our own or in our own strength. We have a still, small voice that helps us and guides us. The Holy Spirit helps us to make choices between right and wrong. We need to start listening! Our choices in life need to glorify God. Even little things like the TV shows we are watching need to glorify God. We must ask ourselves with every choice, “Is this pleasing to God? Do my words glorify God? Would Jesus buy this magazine? Would God enjoy this movie, or would He be embarrassed by it?”
You may be wondering why little things like TV shows or magazines matter so much. You may be thinking, “I’m not hurting anyone watching this show. I’m just relaxing. It’s only TV. The kids are in bed. I’m an adult. It doesn’t matter.”
Does it matter?
The Bible warns us to be careful. Peter tells us “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Imagine yourself lying on the couch late at night, flipping channels and being drawn to MTV or an immoral reality show. You allow the channel to linger there for awhile, even though you feel a tinge of discomfort. The show has peaked your curiosity. You reason with yourself that watching these shows couldn’t be harmful. You aren’t HURTING anyone.
But ponder this. When you are drowsy and inattentive, you become easy prey for the enemy, “who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Lions usually hunt at night, and there you are at night, feeding on worldly filth, allowing it to penetrate your heart. Now you have opened a door for him, allowing him a foothold.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Don’t fill your eyes with images of the world that can never be erased. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Guard what goes through your eyes into your heart! These reality shows are making a mockery of marriage and God’s plan for our best. We have shows that tell us that God’s creation isn’t nearly good enough, so we will change it by having several plastic surgeries. It is so easy to be sucked in to these shows, and then to change our ideals and morals to fit with what we are watching.
Sometimes, we feel a tinge of guilt or discomfort while doing something that isn’t glorifying to God. We don’t realize it, but this is the Holy Spirit, the still, small voice inside of us trying to help us, trying to guide us. In today’s society we hear that we shouldn’t feel “guilt.” We hear things like, “Feeling guilty is wrong and teaching others about guilt is wrong. If you are not hurting anyone else, then everything is okay. We are in our own homes. We are consenting adults. God is a God of love, and He wouldn’t make us feel guilty.”
God is a God of love and that is why He instilled in us this guide. Guilt, or "conviction" is a mechanism created in us by God to help us make the right choices. This mechanism helps us to discern what is right and what is wrong. It shows us when we sin. When we feel uncomfortable watching a TV show, music video, or a movie, or listening to the lyrics of songs, or wearing provocative clothing, there is a reason for it! God is speaking to us. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us make choices for Him, to live a godly life. God doesn’t leave us on our own, “fending for ourselves.” He gives us His Word to teach us and His Spirit or Counselor to guide us.
Now there is a difference between the Holy Spirit guiding us and the enemy condemning us when we make wrong choices. The Holy Spirit gives us a WARNING BEFORE we sin or while we are sinning to STOP. The enemy heaps on condemnation after the fact. When we have already DONE something, he comes in telling us how awful we are for doing it. The enemy doesn’t warn us to stop, he reminds us constantly of what we have done when it’s over. “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God forgives our sin and empowers us to not sin any longer.
But, when you start tuning out the small, still voice, it becomes harder to hear. When you allow the screams of the world to drown out God’s whispering, it’s harder to make choices for God. Our choices do matter- from the politicians we vote for to the businesses we support to the radio stations we listen to. Are we making these choices for God? Do they glorify God? We need to make a stand. We need to live lives set apart from the world. Sometimes it is not convenient, sometimes it is not popular, and sometimes it is not in our best “economic interest.” But, this is what God is calling us to do.
We can not make these choices and live this way in our own strength. But, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” I am strong in the Lord. The Lord says, “When you seek Me with all of your heart, you will find Me.” When we are searching for God and trying to live in the Spirit, keeping “step with the Spirit,” God will honor our request.
Are there areas of your life where you know you need to change? Has God been whispering to you, and you have been shutting Him out? Are you unclear to what areas you need to change? God can and will help you answer these questions. That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit! Spend a few moments now to speak and listen to the Lord.
1.Are there areas in your life where you have become “cozy in the world?” Have you developed habits that don’t glorify God? Take a few moments to journal here what they are. Ask God to help you surrender these areas to Him.
2. Read 2Timothy 3:1-9. Do you see any similarities between what Paul describes as “Godlessness” and today? List present day examples.
3. Read 2Timothy 2:22-24, Colossians 3:1-17 and Ephesians 4:17-5:21. How should you live? Take a few moments to reflect on these. What is the Holy Spirit showing you? Are there areas you need to surrender to God?
4. How do you do this? So many Christians are in bondage to STRIVING and PERFORMING. This is not God’s plan. He has given you what you need in the Holy Spirit. Read Philippians 4:13, 2Corinthians 12:9-10, and Ephesians 6:10. When you are weak, how does God strengthen you?
Listen now to the Spirit of God. Ask the Lord to help you seek Him, not the world. Please pray with me.
Father God, I give You all glory and honor and praise! I thank you for your Word to help me and I thank You for Your Spirit to guide me. I pray God that you would open the eyes of my heart. I pray that You would give me a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know You better. I pray, Lord, that You will help me seek You out, not the world. Help me God to store up my treasures in Heaven, not here on earth. I pray that I would have ears to hear You and a heart to follow You. Your Word says I am strong in the Lord. Give me a boldness, Lord and a confidence to be strong in You and for you. Help me to listen to the Holy Spirit and to make every choice with You in my heart. Remind me always to ask, “Is this for God or against Him? Does this bring God glory?” Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.