Set Your Hearts!

…Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe – all the words of this law.  For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.                 ~ Deuteronomy 32:46-47

Two of my favorite words are deliberate and intentional.  Both of these words require action – with the understanding that in-action is not an option.  Whenever I see the word careful in Scripture, these two words come to mind.  Carelessness is easy to fall into.  

It’s so easy to get into a routine – to become “busy” with the cares of this world – and before we know it, we’ve slipped away.

Although God’s grace is always sufficient, and He welcomes us back – Oh, how much more precious would our relationship with Him be if we made deliberate, intentional carefulness to observe His ways the norm.  

No more settling for what we have left to give the Lord, but always giving Him the best, the best of our time, the best of our gifts, the best of our finances, the best of everything.

We, as sinful creatures were, and are loved by the perfect God, the Holy One, the Creator of the universes, when we clearly didn’t deserve it.  So, when He does deserve our all, our very best, why do we think that we can give Him any less.

What does this look like?  

Well, to start with – it involves time spent with God on a daily basis – personal quiet time, alone with God – I call mine taG (time alone with God).  This time should include prayer, Scripture reading and study, journaling what you’ve learned and what God has spoken to your heart, and recording your prayers and the answers to them.

Don’t have time for this you say?  I’d beg to differ.  No matter how busy we are, we always make time for what is important to us.  Am I wrong?  We have our TV shows that we “have” to watch.  We have our games we “have” to play.  There’s always time for those things. Try taking a hard look at your schedule.  Set an appointment time with God, and keep it.  The same way that you would keep a doctor’s appointment.  

Does God, Who has given everything – His best – to pursue a relationship with us, deserve less from us?

Now, that you’ve had your taG, you need to carry God with you in every area, every aspect of your day.  When we are intentional about this, it changes our perspective.  Applying what we learn is not only “do-able” but is “mandatory”.  At least according to Scripture.

God, every time that He tells us, in His Word, what He expects of us – tells us this:  “Be holy, for I am Holy.”  Notice that He doesn’t say, “Try to be holy” or “Do the best your can” or “Live a good life”.  The mandate here is very clear!  We are called to holiness.  Period.  

I have found the major cause for us not obeying this mandate is simple.  We don’t want to.  We would rather “justify” our behavior, or excuse it, or validate it.  This is where our will kicks in.  This is where dying to self comes into play.  Where we no longer live by what we want, but rather by what God wants for us.

The thing is this.  God doesn’t give us unnecessary rules and regulations.  All of the things that we are called to do, or to refrain from doing are for our own good.  God wants the best for us, for us to have abundant life.  He knows that this abundant life can only come from doing life His way.

Think about your kids.  We want the best for them.  We want them to have a good life.  We know that this type of life will not “just happen”.  Without discipline, deliberate and intentional, nothing worthwhile “happens”.  God is the same way with us.  He wants the absolute best for us, and, unlike us sometimes, HE always knows what that looks like, what it involves.  So, when He tells us to do something (pray without ceasing, love one another, have compassion – be holy) it’s all for the best – for our best life so that we can reflect Him and glorify Him through it.

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