Chinese Christian Herald Crusades UK

2024年6月, 青少年園地

An Undivided Heart

Ben Law

When life is busy and demanding, we often find ourselves being stretched in different directions trying to keep things ticking over. Many of us constantly negotiate in our heads how much time, attention, resource, and effort we should be committing to our family and social relationships, our work, our service to others and the church, our interests, and more. And whilst this can be a helpful coping strategy for managing our multi-faceted lives, I have come to find that it can be a slippery slope towards a half-heartedness that cares more about getting tasks done than being present in and intentional with the moments God has given us.

In Psalm 86:11, David prays to God: “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”  The obvious lesson from this verse is the need to have our hearts fully set on God, and this is echoed in the greatest commandment that Jesus gave to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). But perhaps we also need to reflect on what having an ‘undivided’ heart really means.

The word ‘undivided’ might be understood in these two ways: firstly, something that is not broken up or segmented and secondly, to be singularly focused. Take a laser beam for example; the light that is emitted isn’t scattered in all directions but is directed to one fixed point. All the light waves move in the same direction, leaving one intense, focused beam of light. When the laser is pointed then, people can clearly see what it is that they are supposed to focus their gaze on. In the same way, when our hearts are undivided, our focus has been set and we won’t be as side-tracked or distracted by things that are of lesser importance in the moment.

Coming back to King David, his desire was to have an undivided heart so that he might fear the Lord and trust in Him. There is something mysterious and wonderful that happens when we give God our undivided attention. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When we look first to God, His Word reminds us that He will provide and meet us in our worries and anxieties. He will help us and guide us. However, this is easier said than done, for it requires us to be intentional in our seeking of Him. As Jeremiah 29:13 reminds us: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” To give God our whole heart is an act of faith and surrender, but in exchange, God promises to give us His perfect peace and to shine light on our paths.

In moments where I’ve been overwhelmed and unsure what to focus on, I have learned that there’s no better place to be than to be still before God, in the presence of a caring and loving Father who sees everything we are carrying and does not leave us as orphans to suffer alone. It is a discipline to cultivate, and one I haven’t always had the patience for, but in moments where I’ve most needed clarity, reassurance or redirection, the Lord has been merciful and kind. It is He who provides the strength for us to navigate through life, and He continues to draw us into His presence again and again, no matter how close or far we may feel from Him.

One final reflection about undividedness: being undivided from something means being inseparable from that very thing. Just as in a marriage, two people become one, so God’s people are called to be inseparable from Jesus. He is our head; we are His body. That heart-to-heart connection with Him is what shapes us and transforms us into being different. Old ways of living that are fruitless can give rise to new ways of living that are fruitful when we allow God’s life to flow through us and pervade the different spaces we find ourselves in. So let us be encouraged to bring ourselves fully to Him, to trust God with what to leave behind and what to direct our focus on, and in doing so, I believe we will find opportunities to live life more intentionally, more focused, and more present.