Six Signs of a Spiritually Divided Heart

**Originally Published on Encourage 365, October 1st, 2012**

A cursory glance through Psalm 119 reveals the heart of an author wholly enveloped in the words of God. It is blatantly obvious the Psalmist not only read the word of God on a regular basis, but lived its truth in his every-day life. Psalm 119 provides all the answers we could ever hope for in regards to approaching the Bible with an undivided heart.

So how do I know if I’m seeking God with all my heart? How do I know if I love God with all my heart? How do I know if I believe God with all my heart? How do I determine if my heart is divided or united to fear God’s name in truth (Psalm 86:11)?

1. A spiritually divided heart is emotionally unstable.

“Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.” (Psalm 119:2) The Hebrew word for “blessed” in this passage is ‘esher (eh’-sher) which translates “happy”. Blessed does not mean wealthy, successful, powerful, popular, or prominent though it may certainly be a blessing to have those statuses. A divided heart is revealed in a saddened or discouraged countenance. Is my life characterized by happiness and peace or worry and confusion? Am I tossed into the depths of despair through every undesirable circumstance or have I entrusted my innermost source of happiness to God’s word? The only way I can have lasting happiness is to walk by and believe God’s word of truth.

2. A spiritually divided heart is wandering.

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” (Psalm 119:10) God’s word is not a list of rules keeping me boxed in under the heavy thumb of dictatorship. God’s word was inspired and written for my greatest good. The Bible clearly outlines and defines what path to travel, what attitude is appropriate, and what ministries to pursue. When I start to rely on my own reasoning, logic, and understanding, I stray from God’s perfect knowledge of His creation—me.  My heart is divided when I fight against the truth of God’s revealed word and willfully or ignorantly choose my own path.

3. A spiritually divided heart is selfish.

“Turn my heart towards your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (Psalm 119:36-37) Left to my own devices I am bent towards selfishness. When I argue with my spouse over where to eat dinner I put my needs in front of his. When I am offended by the opinions of others, threatened by the status of a peer, or hesitant to give of my abundance to someone in need, I am selfish. I have strayed from God’s word and will and allowed my flesh to take over. My heart has been divided. I have failed to esteem others as better than myself (Philippians 2:3).

4.  A spiritually divided heart is inconsistent.

“This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.” (Psalm 119:56) Can I truthfully proclaim that I obey God’s word without falter every second of every day? Not a chance. However, the undivided heart, or the heart walking through life believing God’s word, will be swayed towards obedience. Willful rebellion will be the exception, not the rule. When my daily practice is devoted to knowing and following God’s word, my heart is united in truth.

5. A spiritually divided heart is malnourished.

“How sweet are your words to my taste; sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103) When I am hurt, angry, confused, or otherwise afflicted, where do I turn for guidance and comfort? Do I seek the opinions of friends, family, pastors, and teachers first or do I seek the counsel of God? The more of his words I consume, the more nourished I will be. When I neglect his guidance and first seek help from human sources I am left hungry and malnourished. If I don’t know the word of God, how will I know if the advice I’m given is biblical? Like the prophet Isaiah so eloquently stated: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:2)

6. A spiritually divided heart is fearful.

“I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them.” (Psalm 119:46-47) If my Monday through Saturday life does not line up with my Sunday life, I should be afraid to speak of my faith. Without a living, active gospel displayed through my life, I will be put to shame when I witness to others. How can I preach to someone when my life is the opposite of my message? When I hear of terminally-ill loved ones, if unsure about their eternal destiny, I am motivated to witness to them before it’s too late. But was I motivated to witness before I knew they were sick? Shouldn’t every day be an opportunity to love God, live God, and display God in everything I do?  If I am not displaying the love of God by witnessing to my lost friends and neighbors, I am living in fear. I want my life to always back up my message and never distract from the wonderful, freeing truth of the Gospel of Christ.

Every time I read Psalm 119 I am reminded to check my heart-status. Am I whole-heartedly seeking God and his word or am I offering up only the pieces I prefer? Can I stand beside the Psalmist and before God, unashamed and fully exposed and still declare, “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. Your statutes are my delight and I have chosen the way of truth.” (Psalm 119:20, 24, 30) That is my desire; to live with an undivided heart wholly united with God’s word.


15 thoughts on “Six Signs of a Spiritually Divided Heart

  1. The undivided heart topic was good topic
    To read because that what I am struggling with now , so I wrote down
    Some scripture to feed on them until
    I get them down in me for sure. Please
    Pray that I will be consistent in reading
    The scriptures as well reading the Bible
    at all . Thanx

  2. I was searching for thoughts on a divided heart to share during communion time at our church. Your’s are very practical and to the point. I’ll be glad to give you full credit as I use a few of them. It’s so amazing how God takes our painful broken journeys and turns them into sweet morsels for others who follow after us. Thanks again.

  3. I’m 80 yrs old anf I have operated with a divided heart all my life….a stronghold in my mind. Born of parents who never said or showed me love….not evil but emotionally neglectful and absent. They didn’t have love to give. I began biting my nails and toes almost at infancy. That continued but I added food and became quite obease. and started smoking 3 – 4 packs a day.. I added alcoholism (spent two separate 30 day rehabs at a center to no avail). All those addictions continued and I added bulimia. Understandably I was a mess.

    Early on in college days I accepted Christ while on the floor in front of the TV watching Jimmy Swaggert but continued the addictions for many years.

    Found a church that believed in deliverence and emotional healing. As of today I am free of addictions . Spent a week in Georgia with Dr Henry Wright’ ministry and heard about the unloving spirit. Today I could be the spokesman for this article you wrote the divided heart. EACH point stings cause I see each in me.

    I don’t want to die in this shape. I know in my head that He loves me but …….

    Thanks for making this heart condition so blatently clear.


  4. Thank you for this article it was easy to read, easy to understand also explaining perfectly what I was looking for, I’m in 4 of them.

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      • Last night The Lord said “divided heart”. & I found your study. This morning on reading the part about the gospel needs to b displayed thru my life, I felt sadness & shame because my inconsistency & sickness made that not possible. The Lord exposed a lie: that God doesn’t care about me & will let me be destroyed, because I can’t do things right consistently. I have repressed traumatic memories that come out & I don’t respond well after.
        Your study showed me that it’s a generational curse that God wants to destroy.
        I’ll study your united heart next. Thanks.

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