In Pursuit of God’s Heart-Part 3: Roll it all Away

“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.         Psalm 37:5-6

To pursue a Heart of God, we have to TRUST in God’s provision and DELIGHT in God’s desiresbut we also have to COMMIT to God’s leading.  The last one is more challenging as it requires action to live out your willingness to be under God’s leadership and authority.

In Greek, commit actually means “to roll away” all of your negative thoughts and feelings to the Lord, like rolling away a stone or the ocean flowing away from the shore.  It makes me think of rolling a ball with my babies when they first learned to sit.  Sitting across from them on the floor and rolling the ball into their minute, yet chubby hands.  Most of the time, they couldn’t roll it back, but what a thrill it was for them to be able to take the ball from me, often to merely lift it to their mouths.  God wants the same for us.  He wants us to roll away all of the burdens of life to him.  The heartbreaking diagnosis, the unexpected lay off, the wayward child, God wants all of it. He isn’t planning on giving it back, so we shouldn’t try to retrieve any of it.  All of our concerns and worries about the future are for Him and Him alone to work out because he already has.  In the end, our lives will be a reflection of God to everyone around us.  We will “shine like the dawn”, as the sunlight breaks through the darkness of a new day.  The worries of this world can create such darkness that it can hinder any of His light and hope, trying to enter in.  Roll them away.

We are all weak.  God knows our greatest struggle will not be rolling our burdens away, but leaving them at His feet.  I can share with you, from experience, the act of not leaving the pain and grief with Him, is more arduous than the experience itself.  In Luke 24, after Jesus was crucified, then buried in a tomb, a stone was rolled in place to enclose the opening of the cave.  The next day, when the women came to the tomb, they found the stone had been “rolled away” and their Savior gone.  That stone would have been too heavy for anyone to move.  Our burdens are too heavy for us to do anything with them. They only function to block our way to the risen God.

In 1 Samuel 16, God tells Samuel to go find the next one he is to anoint to be king of Israel.  Saul was still on the throne. Samuel feared death if Saul discovered him anointing a new king.  Samuel asked God, “How can I go?”  God didn’t give him the whole plan, just the next thing.  God didn’t even tell Samuel who the next king was immediately. When we commit our way to God, we have to roll away our fear to be ready to do the next thing.  Our fear, worry, stress will hinder us from fully doing what God wants us to do in the next day, hour, or moment.  Cast off your fear and go to the next doctor’s appointment with hope.  Roll away your anxiety and make your resumé gleam with God’s promise of provision.  Leave your grief and continue to love and pray for that prodigal.

God’s way is not a way of darkness, but of light.  Paul was physically blinded by God’s light in Acts 9:3.  By rolling my burdens to Jesus and leaving them at his feet, is his blinding light shining in my life, giving others hope?  Because of His bright light in me, are others wanting to know God’s heart as I do?  It’s what God wants for each of His children.  For us to know His heart and live our lives reflecting His bright light.  With each trial and struggle, the more I have rolled away my burdens and clung to God, the closer I have been drawn to His heart.  There is no place I would rather be, but taken into God’s heart and bask in the glow of His light.

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Commit

In Pursuit of God’s Heart: Part 2 – What’s your heart condition?

In Part 1, we pursued the heart of God by trusting our shepherd and finding contentment in the pasture he has placed us.  Psalm 37:4 takes us to the next segment of wisdom.  It is one of the most over-used, yet misunderstood verses in the Bible.  The first part is often overlooked because we love to dwell on the second:

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Our family recently adopted a 5-year-old boxer, Vega.  We delight in Vega, but not to the degree she delights in us.  There is nothing like watching a boxer greet you.  The lack of a tail does not diminish her excitement. Her entire rear end wiggles, almost doubling herself in half with glee.  In the morning, as each child comes down the steps, she greets them with that level of delight.  My hubby jokes that he would like to see us all joyfully greet him when he makes his return home like Vega does.

Vega delights in us because we love her, play with her, care for her, and she trusts us. She doesn’t have an overabundance of toys.  We don’t fill her belly with treats each day, although the children would like to.  We are her people, and that is all she needs.

In the same way, we should “Delight in the Lord” because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16). He promises to always be with us (Matthew 28:20).  What more could we delight in than a Heavenly Father that loves us sacrificially and desires for us to spend eternity with Him?  That is truly delightful!

The second part of the verse is something people use like a lottery ticket.  Without delighting in the One who saved us, we like to think His job is to give us the desires of our hearts.  If we BELIEVE enough, TRUST enough, HOPE enough, we will prosper and be given all we desire.  This prosperity driven gospel, preached by many wealthy speakers is not truth.  The things I want or desire may not be in the best interest of myself or my family.  God is the only one who knows what is our best interest.

Jesus told us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Nowhere did Jesus pray for wealth and prosperity. In fact, he didn’t even have a home and was hated by many.  He didn’t live a desirable life.

In Acts, Paul, an extremely prosperous Jew strictly followed the law as an elite Pharisee. After persecuting followers of Jesus, God wrecked Paul and stripped him of his previous life. Paul’s conversion led him to a life of delighting in the Lord, losing all of the prosperity he had from his past. God didn’t give Paul the desires of his heart until God owned his heart. Then it didn’t matter, God’s desires became Paul’s desires.

Do we give Vega all the desires of her heart?  When she gets what she wants, it is often not good for her.  Frolicking around the neighborhood, unleashed, could lead to getting injured.  We are her owners and it is our job to let her know that she is loved and will always be cared for, but letting her do what she wants is not what is best for her.  Despite restricting her desires, she delights in us and is content in whatever we choose to share with her.

For a human, the desires of our hearts are fickle and not often in our best interest.  I would like to eat all of the ice cream in our freezer.  It has been a long day and ice cream is my favorite, but I’m trying to eat better, so that wouldn’t be good for me.  I would also like some new clothes and it’s been a while since I’ve had a pedicure, but we’re trying to be frugal right now and it wouldn’t be wise for me to spend the money.  Every day, my heart is tempted and I do not make the best choices for myself.  The bottom line is, God’s heart is way more reliable.  If He gave me the desires of my unreliable heart,  I would be unhealthy and bankrupt.

In Psalm 51, David asks God “Create in me a clean heart”.  David wanted a pure, fresh heart because his heart’s desire had just led him to adultery and murder.  He learned the hard way, that he could not trust his own heart.  David wanted God to own his heart so God’s desires would become his desires.

If King David, the man after God’s heart couldn’t trust his own heart, how can I?   I want God to OWN my heart.  I want God’s desires to fill my heart.  I want God to clean out everything else in my heart that is not of Him.  What’s the condition of your heart?  Does God own your heart?

Lord, I want to delight in and find my joy in you.   I ask that you take ownership of my heart.  God, create in me a fresh heart so that when you give me the desires of my heart, they will come from the new heart you have created within me.  

Amen

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