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Keys To A New Beginning (5)

My Heart Is Not In It

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Jim Davis

Have you ever tried to do something but your heart really wasn't in it. I served four years in military service, but my heart wasn't in it. I had an overriding compulsion to do my duty honorably. I volunteered. I wanted to serve. I wanted to do my duty. But there was no place like home. I was like many of the soldiers who were sent over seas, we left our hearts in San Francisco. While there, we only dreamed of going home. We counted the days. Our homes were where our hearts were. During all of our travels our hearts were longing for home. But we served our time and did our duty.

There was an old saying among soldiers that there were only two military bases that any soldier really liked. The one they just left, and the new one they just got orders for. The one they just left had everything the place they were at was missing. They dreamed the place they were going to would have everything the place they were at should have. Many of us never seemed to enjoy where we were. Our hearts were longing to be somewhere else.

Maybe you have a job making a living, but your heart really isn't in it. You do your duty responsibly--but your heart isn't in it. You punch your time card, draw your salary--you even enjoy the benefits, but your heart isn't in it.

The Pharisees found themselves going through excruciating religious rituals, but their hearts were far from God (Matthew 15:8-9). Sadly, this is how many serve God. We may seek to work out our salvation as the dangers of eternal punish compel us. We may seek to do our duty, but our hearts aren't into it. We go to church. We sing the songs. We may even study the Bible. We even give money. We do our duty, but something is amiss.

The best way to tell if your heart is in it is to ask yourself, "Do I find a joy in what I am doing?" We may convince ourselves that the all-important thing is suffering for God. We convince ourselves that we are doing our duty. This may be why many of us are just going through the motions that our religious persuasion invokes upon us. It is not our suffering that glorifies God, it is not serving through a sense of duty that glorifies God, but it is a godly attitude as we serve God that pleases Him and brings glory to him. If we are missing an attitude of joy, it is probably because our hearts aren't in it.

The only way we can enjoy where we are while we are on our way to where we are going is to put our hearts into it.

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (NIV).

Many seeking God today are trying to put their heart into it by doing more, working harder and demanding more of others. This may be honorable, but honorable service rendered from a sense of duty will rob us of the joy of salvation. It is not the best way to put your heart in it.

We Must Put Our Hearts Into It

A fifty-year-old man pulled up alongside me at a red light. He had a red bandana tied around his head with his hair tied into a ponytail wearing a pair of sunglasses. He was rocking back and forth in the car as he was singing the sixties’ song he was listening to on the radio. He was lost in the sixties. That's probably where he had left his heart. I know the place. I once lived there, only I was much younger then. Sometimes I want to go back too. One reason I don't go back is because I would have to buy a Harley to get there, it would be too expensive. He was lost in the sixties as he sought to relive the feelings of those old songs we all used to listen too.

Many of the Hebrews who were delivered from Egyptian bondage left their hearts in Egypt. They were following the cloud, the pillar of fire, offering the sacrifices, but their hearts were longing for Egypt.

Numbers 11:4-6
"The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" (NIV).

Near the end of their wilderness journey Moses encourages them to put their hearts into following God.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates" (NIV)

The amazing thing about Moses’ commands is that Moses doesn’t just command Israel to seek God with all their heart, soul and strength. Moses seeks to motivate Israel to do so. He gives them motive for putting their hearts in it.

Motives For Getting Our Hearts Into It

Moses seeks to motivate Israel by reminding them of the reasons they should serve God.

Deuteronomy 10:14-17
"To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes" (NIV).

Moses impresses upon Israel the sovereignty of God. Moses writes, "To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it" (Deuteronomy 10:14). Moses was reminding them into whose hands they were putting their hearts--their lives. It would be much easier to place our hearts and lives in the hands of God if we would only recognize that he has control of our universe. He knows what he is doing as he controls the circumstances of our lives. In light of God’s sovereignty they should circumcise their hearts, Moses writes, "Circumcise your hearts, therefore . . ." This simply means, Give God your hearts.

Joy and happiness all depends on whose hands we have placed our lives into.

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in . . .

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth 19 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in . . .

A golf club is useless in my hands.
A golf club in Tiger Wood's hands is a 4 Major Golf Championship
It depends on whose hands it's in . . .

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends on whose hands it's in . . .

A sling shot in my hands is a toy.
A slingshot in David's hands is a mighty weapon.
It depends on whose hands it's in . . .

Two fish and five loaves in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and five loaves in Jesus' hands will feed thousands.
It depends on whose hands they're in . . .

Nails in my hands might produce a bird house.
Nails in Christ Jesus' hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends on whose hands they're in . . .

As you see now it depends on whose hands it's in ~

Moses is encouraging the children of Israel to place their concerns, their worries, their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their families and their relationships in God's Hands because, "To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it . . .For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome." You see it all depends on whose hands they're in.

The greatest act of faith is when we decide that we are not God and surrender our lives into God's hands. It would be much easier for us to commit our soul, mind and spirit to God if we would realize to whom we are committing our lives. Who is better at directing your life---you or God? God is the director of the universe, the highest heavens and the whole earth belongs to him.

The sovereignty of God is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Moses wanted the children of Israel to understand their salvation from heaven's perspective. The sovereignty of God gives us a glimpse of salvation from heaven’s perspective. Paul echoes this theme throughout his teaching.

Ephesians 1:4-6
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves" (NIV).

God in his sovereignty has chosen us to salvation. We have a God given future. We couldn’t be any more blessed or secure if we tried. God chose to bless the descendants of Abraham above all the nations. Moses writes, "Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today."Today we are Abraham’s descendants through Christ (Galatians 3:26-28). We become descendants of Abraham when we are baptized into Christ.

To get our hearts into God’s work we must remind ourselves that what God did for Abraham he did for us. Moses' writes, "Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today"(Deuteronomy 10:15). So Moses is encouraging Israel to look back at God’s love for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The past can refocus our lives in the present by giving a new perspective of what God is seeking to accomplish in our lives.

Israel's attitude in her wilderness experience was blinding her to what God’s love was accomplishing there. Moses reminded them of God’s care and concern for their forefathers to give them 20/20 hindsight. Our vision should even be sharper. We not only have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but we witness all the loving acts of God on his people from Abraham till the present. Throughout biblical history we see God interceding on behalf of his chosen people. He does the same for us today.

Romans 8:26-28
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (NIV).

Romans 8:31-33
"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies" (NIV).

Sometimes we think God is so egotistical that he must have our praise. We pay God honor and reverence, not for his sake, but for our own sake. Our praise and glory cannot make God more than what he already is. No creature can add anything to God. We obey, praise and honor God for our own sake. It enables us to partake of his glory. It enables us to see what God is doing for us in heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:3-6
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves" (NIV).

We must look over into eternity to get a glimpse of our spiritual blessings in Christ that we might understand the glory God has shared with us. When the eye of faith pierces the veil of time we begin to realize that God is moving men and nations to accomplish his will for our lives. We are a definite part of his victory plans.

God wants to share his glory with us because of his affection for us. It would be much easier to impress God’s word upon our minds and hearts if we could only realize that they were given because of his affection for us. "To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today" (Deuteronomy 10:14-15).

None of us deserve to share in God's glory. We haven't earned it. Nor have we paid the price ourselves. Yet, in his grace, Jesus chooses to share his glory with us as he approaches God on our behalf.

Moses constantly reminded Israel the reason God gave his commandments. They were given so they could enjoy the blessings of God. Moses encourages them to pass the blessings on to their children. What God did for their forefathers as they obeyed him was obvious. So Moses writes, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

The excitement over recalling what God had done for their forefathers should have made them tell their children the story every chance they got. God had revealed his glory through their ancestors. By revealing his glory through them he also shared his glory with them.

Moses not only seeks to motivate Israel, but he tells them what they need to do to share in God's glory. Moses writes, "Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes" (Deuteronomy 10:16-17).

God shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. That means we don't need some kind of special standing before God to seek his blessings. All we need is Christ. God has provided the means for us to come to him. God exercises his sovereign power to shape the events of our lives as he seeks to persuade us to follow him. Moses foretold of Israel's future rebellion, but in the same breath he reminds them that God would use their rebellious acts to circumcise their hearts to bring them to himself.

Deuteronomy 30:6-9
"The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today" (NIV).

Today God seeks to bring us to himself as he circumcises our hearts by blotting out the sins of our past.

Colossians 2:9-15
"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (NIV).

As Paul mentions what God had done for the Colossians, he reminds us how God's sovereign power reigns to accomplish this. Paul says God "disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Paul wants us to know the destiny and fortunes of every Christian is in the hands of a sovereign God. God has destroyed our enemies and he has saved us from our sins. Victory is assured.

If our hearts aren't in the right place, all we have to do is ask God to circumcise our hearts. Yes, initially it may seem painful, but not near as painful as it will be if we don't allow God to circumcise our hearts.

Remember all that really matters is "Whose hand your life is in." Someone once prayed, "O Lord, grant that I may do your will as if it were my will; so that you may do my will as if it were your will."

Conclusion:

Only a sovereign God is capable of directing our lives to a successful conclusion. Only a sovereign God has the power to overrule our enemies for our victory. We must follow him in trusting obedience.

A woman driving through Oregon over the Cascade Range ran into a snowstorm and became very frightened. Then she peered ahead and saw a snowplow. What luck! She kept as close to the machine as she could while it removed snow from the road.

At times the heavy snowfall almost cut off her view, but her faithful guide kept on leading the way. After some time, the plow stopped, and its driver got out and walked over to her car.

"Lady, where are you going?" he asked.

"I'm on my way to Central Oregon," she replied.

"Well, you'll never get there following me! I'm plowing this parking lot!"

Do you ever feel like you're moving in circles, running around aimlessly? Who are you following?

When we have a perspective of God’s view or our world we see him moving men and nations to accomplish his will in our lives. When we have only an earthly view of our salvation we end up like this woman following a snowplow in a parking lot.

 

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