There comes a point in our lives where we are the ones in control of the choices we make, and recognize the consequences for our actions. No matter what those choices may have been in the past. No matter who made those choices for us. “Even now,” declares the Lord. It doesn’t matter how many times we have messed up, or how many times we think we have won. Through all of it God wants our whole heart. He doesn’t say some or part of our heart, nor does he just “say” …he declares you to return to Him with all your heart!
We tend to give Satan too much credit. We blame the enemy for anything bad that happens, not realizing or willing to take the blame ourselves. Most of us, most of the time, are just making choices (living in the flesh) that is outside of God’s will. Sin and God cannot coexist but with free will we make that choice. Do I pray out of habit or are my prayers spirit lead? Do I read in my bible, or watch TV? Do I eat/not eat out of stress, or give it over to the one who knows what’s best? It’s not the enemy destroying us…we do a great job of that ourselves.
God doesn’t just declare your return, and for us to figure out how to do that, he follows it with how to do it. So, what does that look like: return with your whole heart to God in fasting, weeping and mourning. Full repentance of a life lived outside of God’s leading. Natural consequences of sin may still follow, but repentance restores the relationship with God. Fasting helps by cleansing away all the impurities to position ourselves to feed the spirit. Getting rid of the roughage, so we can seek/hear from our place of refuge. “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.” Psalm 62:6-7
Rend, in verse 13, means to separate into parts/ pieces with force. Scripture shows that people tore their clothes as an outward expression of a deep sorrow and heartfelt grief. This turned into an outward expression but not feeling the separation on the inside. God wants us to separate from anything that is not of Him. Rend our hearts, not our clothes. A heartfelt change will be seen through words and actions. Luke 6:45c says For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. When I think of rending, I think of ripping off a band-aid. Which is interesting because we tend to place “band-aids” on difficult situations instead of dealing with them by allowing the Lord to help us work through it. We all know that it’s easier to rip off the band-aid all at once. It always hurts, but the wound is fully exposed and real healing (instead of temporary protection) can take place.
So, rend your heart (rip off the band-aid), and give your whole heart over to the Lord. He is gracious, compassionate, patient, and loving. Expose the temporary coverings for the eternal healing. Don’t pick and choose what to give over, but give it all over! You don’t order a whole pizza and get half a pie! Therefore, when the Lord asks for your whole heart don’t just give him a couple of pieces.
Gracious, heavenly Father, help reveal to us the areas in our lives that need to be exposed to your healing. Show us how to remove the temporary band-aid, and replace it with your eternal covering. Give us the strength and wisdom to clean up the mess we created within ourselves. Throughout the process may you, alone, be glorified!