“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
There is much medical and media attention given to physical heart care. Do these exercises, eat this healthy diet, and take this medication to keep that ever rising cholesterol in check. And on it goes to prevent heart attacks, keep us healthy, and give us long lives.
Exercise and diet are also important to strengthen our spiritual hearts and minds against distractions that try to upset our committed devotion to Jesus. Romans 12:2 (NASB) reinforces that whole-hearted devotion includes our mind, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
When asked what the great commandment was, Jesus quickly answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment” Matthew 22:37-38 (NASB) Great and foremost – Jesus answered quickly so we know this is important. We want to obey, but what does whole-hearted devotion look like?
Think diet and exercise again: We renew our minds by hunger for God’s word and the discipline to consume it daily as a regular diet. Also, James 1:22 warns us not to delude ourselves by being just hearers of the word, we are to obey God’s word through the exercise of living it out.
Romans 12:9-21 contains a great check list, if we are brave enough to pray through it, inviting God to point out all the areas that not only need improvement, but need confession, ouch! It does take time, but we can hone our attention to living out whole-hearted devotion as a way of life.
The reward personally and the impact culturally are worth the investment of our time. Let’s pray Psalm 86:11, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (NASB).
What are some things that distract you from total devotion to Jesus? Do you ever get distracted when you are praying? What do you do to bring your mind back to focus on God?