“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”
2 Chronicles 16:9
For the past few years I have adopted the practice of selecting a word for the year. Last year it was new, the year before that it was steadfast, and the year prior to that it was sacrifice.
This year, the word I have selected is fully. My purpose in selecting this word was very simple: I want to be a fully committed follower of Jesus. The question I have asked myself is “What does it mean to be fully committed in —insert aspect of my life—?”
In other translations of the verse above, the word fully is written as perfect and can be defined as whole.
We can all relate to this image. Imagine if our level of commitment to the Lord was represented by this battery icon, what would yours look like?
In your relationships? In your finances? With your time? What does fully committed look like to you?
The Bible has a lot to say about the devotion of our hearts. Consider this sobering excerpt about the wisest man ever –
“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.”
What did Solomon do as a result of this?
“He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.”
There are always consequences to our actions. What were the consequences in the case of Solomon?
“The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”
So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.
Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son.”
1 Kings 11:4-6, 9, 11-12
Consider the greatness of Solomon. Consider the wisdom of Solomon. Even he suffered the consequences of a divided heart. How is this possible?
Consider the consequences for King Asa in 2 Chronicles 16:9. His foolish actions as a result of partial devotion to the Lord resulted in serious negative consequences.
Consider the image below. A compass. When using a compass it is critical that you are pointing in the right direction. It becomes even more critical the farther you travel in the direction you choose. A minor mistake at the outset can lead you astray by a huge margin as you travel great distances.
Our lives are like that too. I think this is why the Lord is looking for fully devoted followers, because partial devotion still leads us astray as we travel great distances in our lives. It seems that partial devotion is really no devotion at all because you end up missing the mark anyway.
Imagine the story of Solomon as if your name replaced his. Imagine the idols Solomon fell prey to reflected more contemporary idols. For me it would read something like this:
“As Brian grew old, his earthly desires turned his heart towards money, status, selfishness and comfort. His heart was less and less devoted to the Lord and he missed out on all God had for him. He hoarded his money and spent it on selfish pursuits leaving his family wanting for his attention. His children suffered as their father neglected them, and his marriage was never what it could have been. He missed countless opportunities to have an eternal impact. At the end of his life, the Lord showed him how he had missed the mark and Brian died knowing that he could have lived so much better.”
Wow. Even writing that breaks my heart. I do not want that to be my story. Nobody does.
The good news is, there is hope.
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”
The Lord is looking throughout the ENTIRE earth to STRENGTHEN those whose hearts are FULLY His.
This year, and beyond, He is going to find me.