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.

Visions

Visions

“I seek you with all my heart.” Psalm 119:10 NIV

“I sought your face with all my heart.” Psalm 119:58 NIV

Car keys

Debit Cards

Remote Controls

People

Love

Happiness

Purpose

Have you ever found yourself searching for any of these things?  I have searched for all of these things at some point in my life! I have been guilty of filling my life with the things of the world in order to find happiness, love, or fulfillment. I have also spent a lot of time searching for missing items, like the remote control! (It’s always between the cushions!) If I were to look back and think, would I be able to determine how much of me was actually involved in the search effort? When I was attempting to find happiness apart from God, I searched with my whole heart! Why? Because I wasn’t satisfied and I didn’t have a purpose! Therefore my mind, will, and emotions were searching feverishly after a source of deep fulfillment. I wanted to be wanted, and I didn’t understand that I already was wanted by the Creator of the universe himself! This search led me to make many terrible choices, some of which will have lasting consequences here on earth. I’m very grateful to God that he continued to pursue a relationship with me, and never let me be comfortable apart from it!

The Psalmist reminds us that not only are we to obey, but we are also to seek after God with all of ourselves. Not just intellectually, but in our wills and emotions. Our affections need to be seeking after the only One who can satisfy.

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17

“Seek his kingdom.” Luke 12:31

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Luke 10:27, Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:30

“Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:3-4

One cannot truly obey whole heartedly unless they are first seeking whole heartedly. How do we seek God with all our hearts? The same way we obey with all our hearts! We look for him not just in our minds to expand knowledge, but in our will. We deliberately make a choice to search for his truth. Then in our emotions; when we are feeling like God must not be concerned with our troubles, we direct our emotions to search for God in our circumstances. He promises us that if we seek him, we will find him!

If you are a believer, a Christ-follower, then God is with you! If you don’t see him, it is because you are not looking. God has not gone anywhere, he is there. He never abandons his children, whether or not his children feel abandoned.  Often I am tempted to pray, “Be with me, God” or “Be with them”, and then I check myself. God is already there! If I am a believer, how much closer can God get to me when he is already in my heart? No, instead I need to be praying, “Let me see you, Lord, because I know you are here!” If I seek him, I am promised that I will find him! Likewise, this promise is for all God’s children! What a marvelous truth!

“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out to him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27

The problem in seeing God is that we are not looking with a united heart, most notably with our emotions. No wonder we doubt so easily! Our minds look for him in his word, or in outward signs, but our will does not act with the authority of his promises. We don’t realize he has been there all along; we just missed him. We cannot be satisfied to seek him only for greater knowledge; we need to seek his truth with our whole heart. It’s a simple formula; seek and find. This formula involves not only reading his word, but spending time listening to his voice. Usually we are too busy to sit and listen, and we miss his direction and purpose. Prayer is a very important part of uniting the hearts vision of God. We never want to become out of balanced, full of knowledge without application.

The one who is whole heartedly seeking after truth will find it in God’s word and from his voice.

He is not far from us, we simply need to look.

Prayer

Jesus, I know I often get overwhelmed in my circumstances and fail to see you. I often ask you to come to me when you have been here all along waiting for me to catch a glimpse of you! Open my eyes and let me see you in my every day! I don’t want to miss what you have for me because I am too busy looking around instead of at you. Help me to learn how to be still and listen to your voice. Give me a new vision of you, and unite my heart to see it clearly with all that I am!

“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art:

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”