April 30 I Sunday
1 Kings 8-9
“...give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.” —Psalm 86:11
Many of us live with a divided heart. We could be reading this devotion while wondering what to eat for dinner. But everything begins to fall into place when we keep our singular focus on God, as Jesus tells us: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?...But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 33). The antidote to double-mindedness is to seek first His kingdom.
Living with an undivided heart is not a passive thing, where we can just sit back and expect it to happen. The Apostle Paul explains, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul admits that he has not arrived where he wants to be; he is not perfect and does not pretend to be. But all his life, he does “one thing.” This does not mean Paul was boring without wider interests, such as a business to be involved in, a family to be concerned about or hobbies to spend his time on. Rather, in the midst of Paul’s business, family and recreation, there is an undergirding backbone and spinal cord to everything—this “one thing.”
What is this “one thing?” Paul answers, “forgetting what is behind.” It is not easy to forget what is behind. Sometimes it is like a ball and chain pulling us back to relive the past. Yet, the “one thing” we ought to do with an undivided heart is to forget what is behind and strain forward, pressing on towards the goal for which God has called us heavenward in Christ.
Why does he call us heavenward? Paul answers a few verses earlier: that we might “know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). That is, as we narrow our interests to Christ’s interests, He equips us to live a life that though it has toughness to it, in it, we might know Him and all His fullness.
Here is the blessing of a pure, undivided heart: not letting two directions pull on us, but keeping a consistent, stable focus on seeking Christ and His righteousness.
Prayer: Lord God, this “one thing” I desire to do is seek first Your kingdom. Help me to forget what is behind and give me an undivided heart to strive after You. Thank You, Lord.