With All of Thy Heart
Robert Wurtz II
“Seek the LORD with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV)
“Love the LORD thy God with all thine heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, )
“Serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart.” (Deut 10:12)
“Keep and do His statutes and judgments with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 26:16 KJV)
“Obey his voice with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 30:2 KJV)
Seek the Lord with All of Our Heart
In an age of handheld devices, we have normalized multitasking. Unfortunately, this makes getting a person’s undivided attention almost impossible. In the 1970s, when I was in grade school, I remember teachers shouting or banging objects on their desks, demanding that the students face forward and give them their undivided attention. Why? Because some things require our complete focus.
It’s hard for people to focus their thoughts on a single subject for an extended period. So it is no surprise that we are losing the concept of giving anything or anyone our undivided attention. The old-timers used to call it “scatter-brained.” As a result, our minds wander, and we’re easily distracted. In addition, doctors prescribe medications to children and adults that force them to focus.
The enemy is the master of distraction. It is easy for him to steal our attention when we’re trying to focus on God. Even in prayer, the enemy will attack our minds and fill our hearts with distracting thoughts. Yet God wants us to “Seek the LORD with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV) To do this, we must put things out of our minds that compete with God for our attention. We must find a way to get alone with God. How will we ever seek the LORD meaningfully if we can’t give Him our undivided attention?
Love the LORD thy God with all thine heart.
Peter, James, and Paul emphasized the importance of sincerely having faith and sincerely showing love. They each used a Greek word that means “without pretense.” In James, it’s translated hypocrisy with the idea of play-acting. Here is another colossal problem in modern times. So much of our entertainment-based culture is play-acting or putting-on.
I remember riding to church on the Bus as a child and getting a front-row seat to the service. I can characterize everything I watched with one word, sincerity. The people loved God with all their hearts, which was evident in how they worshipped Him. We expected people to sing from the depths of their hearts because we didn’t know another way.
The advent of talent contests changed the criteria for what pleases God and altered the expectations of parishioners. As a child, I was convinced that the people I heard meant what they were singing. It wasn’t a performance, and there was nothing pretentious about it. Talent was secondary. Singing from the heart may or may not please the judges. Read that last sentence again and tell me what’s wrong with it. Should we sing to satisfy a judge and score points, or should we sing to God?
Why sing if it just sounds pretty and the singer doesn’t mean it? Would to God that people would refuse to sing anything they didn’t mean from their heart. May we return to a time when people directed their voice God-wards as if He were an audience of one. If we do that, God will bless and edify His people.
Serve the Lord with All Thy Heart
Doing the commandments of Jesus and obeying His voice with all our hearts is how we should serve Him. This is an undivided loyalty. No half-heartedness. There is nothing haphazard or slapdash about it. I recall hearing an old-time preacher tell of how he dreamed that the Holy Spirit told him, “I’m tired of your perfunctory ways.” He didn’t know what the word meant, so he looked it up.
per·func·to·ry| pərˈfəNG(k)t(ə)rē | adjective(of an action or gesture) carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection. Automatic, routinely done, mechanical, quick, careless, inattentively.
God doesn’t want superficial service. He wants us to do things with our whole hearts. So we must strip away the pretense we learned from the culture and return to sincere faith and love. We’re not performing for an audience of people but an audience of one. The world is loaded with fraudulence and fakery. Nevertheless, when others see sincerity, it will move them to take our words seriously.