“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. For they shall return to me with their whole heart.”
Did you hear the emphasis there on the heart? This is God talking about how he’s going to restore his people after they’ve experienced exile and judgment because of their sin. And he says he’s going to give them a heart to know him. They’re going to return to me with their whole heart. God does not desire a people who relate to him merely on the basis of duty. In other words, we have to follow him. We have to worship him. Yet, if we’re not careful, that’s exactly what our Christianity can turn into. Let me ask you a question. When you think about worship, when you think about prayer, when you think about following God’s commands in all kinds of different ways, when you think about reading the Bible, when you think about those things in your life, do you think about them more as duty or more as delight?
By God’s grace we have been given a heart to know Him. May our relationship with God be marked not by religious duty, but by delighting in Him.
Because God has designed us to experience delight in him. Like our whole heart we desire him in prayer. We want to hear his Word. We want to worship him. This is not something we have to do, this is something we want to do. We long to do. Even obedience … Well just think of all his commands. We know that his commands are good. They are good for us, they’re glorifying him, they’re good for others. We want to obey. Then we don’t see them as mere religious duty. So I just want to encourage you today in these couple of minutes just examine your heart, and maybe even after this podcast episode is finished, continue to think about this. Is your whole heart desiring, delighting in, seeking after God? Are you growing in love for him? Just like Jesus said, this is the greatest commandment. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.
The Christian life is not intended to be one of mere religious duty. This is supreme delight in God. God gives us a heart to know him. We come to him with our whole heart. So God, we pray for this heart kind of relationship with you that is marked by love for you and delight in you. God, we are so prone to delight in so many things in this world, to love the things of this world. Mainly even to love ourselves and our own ways, and our own plans, our own dreams. But God, we know, none of these things are near as good as you. None of these things compare to your goodness and your greatness. The goodness of your plans and your desires for our life and just the joy oh God. Even right now, to think that in prayer, we are talking to you. That we have a relationship with you.
What an awesome reality. God, praise you for this. We praise you for giving us a heart to know you. What a phrase. God, a heart to know that you are the Lord. I praise you for this heart. God, I pray that you would keep us. Keep me, and those who are listening and praying right now, God and keep us from seeing a relationship with you as monotonous, religious, routine or mere religious duty. God, we want to grow and our delight in you. Our hearts desire for you. We want that to just increase more and more and more. So may it be so today. God, increase our heart for you. And as a result our heart for all the things you care about most, but all spring from oh God a heart for you. May that be the commentary. The description of our relationship with you. That we have a heart to know you, and we seek after you, and follow you, and love you and are devoted to you with our whole heart. God, may it be so we pray today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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