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Friday, November 16, 2018

Are You Wholehearted?


Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
By Allan Ramsay - National Portrait Gallery:
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/
w/index.php?curid=6356695
In March of 1746, British statesman and 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope, said, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.”[1] All my life I’ve heard that quote or a variation of it. What does this saying mean? To me, it means doing things with your whole heart. So, let me ask, do you do things with a whole heart? And if you do, what is it?

Some give their whole heart to doing Thanksgiving and Christmas right. And some, like me, barely squeak by. I’m sure there are things I do with my whole heart, yet at the moment, I can’t think of one.

So what does it mean to do something with a whole heart? As soon as I asked that question my fifth-grade training kicked in, “When in doubt, look it up!” I’m high-tech now. I don’t actually use a book, I use Google!  I typed in whole heart. Google gave me a replacement word, wholehearted, and only one definition:  “Showing or characterized by complete sincerity and commitment.”[2]

That makes sense, but my subpar mind needed a bit more. When I considered some of the synonyms I really started to understand: Committed, positive, devoted, unshakable, unswerving, without reservations, unconditional, complete, total, and absolute.

Wow! Strong words. I’m feeling pretty small right now. Nevertheless, after a few moments, I realized these synonyms remind me of my great and glorious God. No wonder I was feeling small. He is the totally committed, unshakable, unswerving, unconditional, complete, and absolute One. He has always been this way and always will be. Nothing; no outside influence can ever change Him.[3]

Outside influences, on the other hand, do change us. When faced with adversity can anyone be totally unshakable? I know I can’t, but I want to be. I desire to say with King David, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my WHOLE HEART; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.[4] …With my WHOLE HEART I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments![5] …Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my WHOLE HEART.”[6]

Yet, I’m not sure I do. At times, my sin nature hinders me and I pray I’m never like Judah, turning to God in pretense.[7] But in these moments of concern, I need to trust God more. “Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly…though I walk in the midst of trouble, You [O Lord] will revive me…Your right hand will save me.[8]

Of course, our Almighty, Triune God is the only wholehearted being in existence. And because we are true, forgiven believers, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, He lives in us. Every day His indwelling Holy Spirit is molding us into more Christ-like beings, generating wholehearted devotion. Thus we can seek, praise, and love God AND others with a WHOLE HEART.

The problem is there’s a world out there seeking what we have in Jesus, but they’re looking in the wrong places. With whole hearts, they strive to find and do things that can only be found and done in Him. Let’s be ready this Thanksgiving holiday to plant the seed of God’s Word in their hearts and pray Christmas waters it. That way, if they allow it, God will make it grow.[9] He can replace their stony heart with a new heart of flesh,[10] and say to them as to Israel, “I will give them a heart to know Me, 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.”[11]




[1] https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Philip_Stanhope,_4th_Earl_of_Chesterfield
[3] Malachi 3:6
[4] Psalm 9:1
[5] Psalm 119:10
[6] Psalm 119:34
[7] Jeremiah 3:10
[8] Psalm 138:6-7
[9] I Corinthians 3:6
[10] Ezekiel 36:26
[11] Jeremiah 24:7

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