Monday, January 10, 2011

"My Whole Heart" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 210
“My Whole Heart”
(c) 2010
By Rev. Greg Smith

Happy are those who live pure lives,
       who follow the Lord's teachings.
Happy are those who keep his rules,
       who try to obey him with their whole heart.
(Psalm 119:1-2 NCV)

            Recently, I shared the following story, from Guideposts, with folks at my church: 

When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song," tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. "He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, 'Shall I be a teacher or a singer?' "'Luciano,' my father replied, 'if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.' "I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it's laying bricks, writing a book--whatever we choose--we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that's the key. Choose one chair." 

            Each of us is given two chairs to sit in.  The devil says to us, “Sit down, enjoy the nice seat I offer.  Isn’t the cushion comfortable?”  Everyone at some point accepts the offer of this seat.  The Bible says that everyone is a sinner.  But then Jesus offers us something greater.  He says, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne (Rev 3:21a NIV).”  The problem is that so many Christians accept His invitation partly, but don’t make the move altogether.  They scoot Satan’s chair as close to Jesus’ chair as possible, and try to sit in both seats at once.  Inevitably, they fall between them.
            Many Christians ask, “Why am I unhappy?  I have everything I want; I can do anything I want to do.”  It’s because they’re not following God with their whole heart.  They’ve given Him a piece of it, but not the whole thing.
            The human heart has four chambers: the right and left atria, and the right and left ventricles.  If just one of the heart’s chambers stopped working, the whole thing would shut down, and the result could be death.  The same is true with your spiritual heart.  If your body, your emotions, your actions, and your thoughts are pure, then you’re spiritually whole.  If any one of these four areas of your life is defiled by sin, your spiritual health is in danger.  God wants you to follow Him with your whole heart, not just a piece of it.  Confess your sins to God.  Ask Him to purify each of these areas of your heart.  Give Him all of yourself.  Hold nothing back.  Choose one chair.

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