Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name for ever.
For great is your love towards me; you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead. (Psalm 86:11-13)
I recently enjoyed a rare trip to the Cinema with 2 of my children. We watched ‘The Meg’ (short for Megalodon – a giant, but extinct shark). We enjoyed the silly nature of the film (didn’t come close to Jaws for me!) and left with a belly full of popcorn to get on with our lives.
But this kind of story stirs something in me. Just as the swimmers innocently paddle in the ocean while there is a monster quietly hunting them beneath the water, what is happening in the unseen realm all around us as we go about our daily business?
We get a glimpse of this unseen realm in 2 Kings 6 as Elisha sees the hills ‘full of the Lord’s horses and chariots of fire’. And Peter writes of our ‘enemy the devil prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’. (1Peter 5) There is a battle raging over us everyday, one that we are often too unaware of. And the prize is our heart, our devotion and allegiance.
David understood this. That is why he prays ‘Give me an undivided heart’. He knew that we are called to worship God wholeheartedly. And when we do this, we break into this battle in 3 key ways:
We humbly bow
As we offer worship, we are admitting that we need God. That we are dependant on Him, lost without Him. That He has the answers, not us. As we worship we let go and we let God lead us.
No other gods
David prays ‘give me an undivided heart’. Yet how often do we give in to the voices that fight for our attention? Can I honestly say that I am fully devoted to God? Or have I been lusting after that new guitar just a little too much. I wonder what it is that captures you - your appearance, or house, or job, or reputation? It is said that an idol is anything that takes the place of God. But God, by His nature, deserves nothing less than our all.
David’s desire is that he will ‘walk in truth and glorify God’s name forever’. Not just on a Sunday with the gathered congregation, but on a Monday heading into work. When we are with family and friends who don’t know Christ. Or alone late at night in front of a screen. That every minute of every day, with every inclination of our hearts we would live according to his ways, bringing glory to Him. How do we do this? We sing of God’s unfailing love, we declare His goodness and we offer our lives and hearts to Him again and again.
Wholehearted worship is a lifestyle to aspire to and commit to. It is a lifelong journey of learning, failing, coming back and learning again. But in the process, God is doing something glorious. He is revealing Himself to us and through us. And while I still shiver at the thought of what might be lurking at the bottom of the ocean, I try to keep in mind the real war over my heart, as I seek to daily offer wholehearted worship to the one true God who loves me and saves me.