Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek ME and find ME WHEN you seek ME with all your heart.”
Surrendering our Divided Hearts!
The investments of Time with the heights of Attention must marry together where CHRIST is concerned.
In addition, HIS zeal is wholly required so that every second we breathe…bears HIS praise.
Thus displayed is the greatest respect for our SAVIOUR when all of our trophies — at last — we lay down!
Wherein all of our hearts remain focused upon HIM aside from Life’s endless, tumultuous waves.
Since no gaze to the side can provide HIS perspective, the love which we need is then seen in HIS eyes!
As such, without Judgment’s contempt nor Scorn’s hatred, we shall shine forth CHRIST by extending HIS grace!
As HIServant ever grateful CHRIST extended HIS grace to me,
Devotional: Matthew 5:23-24 “So, what if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that someone has something against you? Leave your gift there and go make peace with that person. Then come and offer your gift.”
This is to all of us, myself most of all, regarding extending HIS grace to others. So let’s take a look at Jeremiah 29:11-13.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on ME and come and pray to ME, and I will listen to you. You will seek ME and find ME when you seek ME with all your heart.”
We are quick to quote the first verse and quicker to recite it when someone shares it with us. It’s inspirational and brings us hope!
But I would direct you to the 13th verse. The timeline is that HE planned us for a future before time. THEN, fast forward to our lives. Now…we are to call on and pray to HIM. THEN…HE listens. This is all in line with all that we know. Even still, HE knows our thoughts BEFORE we pray! Hallelujah!
Then the next verse, regarding chronological order, shows us the treasure beyond praying to the LORD! We read that after HE listens, we will seek HIM. That’s the desire of our hearts when HE moves in us. What amazing joy that has no equal!
But the conditional word “when” stands out in verse 13 as the beginning of the requirement “to seek ME with all of your heart.” To “find” the LORD then…is beyond prayer.
In fact, we can experience periods of being in HIS presence through sincere praise and worship WHEN we seek HIM with all our hearts.
Even so, there are two factors which hinder our “pressing in” efforts.
First, there’s the obvious detraction of NOT seeking HIM with all our hearts. Not being broken in HIS presence.
NOT focusing solely on HIM during the message, during the song service, whenever HIS WORD is opened and shared.
Second, and entwined with the first, is the distractions we ourselves create by focusing in part on the lives of others. Comparing, contrasting, criticizing, condemning and often WHILE at church. In times of worship. During even quiet time with our Bible opened.
Consider Romans 2:1 “You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on another. For on whatever grounds you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
In rebuttal and response, the following quote is heard frequently. Matthew 7:20 “ Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” “See, I’m calling you out because I see your fruits!” Indeed, let’s review that very text in Galatians 6:1-5.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the SPIRIT should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of CHRIST. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.”
So much meat here! I draw our attention to the “Rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would always say. Reconciliation is the next part. Gentle restoration follows seeing a sister or brother caught in a sin.
But this is a low percentage reality, in truth. Verse 4 shows us why. Because none are testing their own actions and choosing to compare themselves to others instead with a “Better Than” mentality…not “carrying their own load.”
Luke 6:41”Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?”
But let’s step back for a moment and build upon the original theme. Being distracted. Not extending grace but instead a reminder of another’s sin SO THAT one can ever feel superior to “the sinner”.
Not seeking GOD with a whole heart but a divided heart. David also prayed for a whole heart in Psalms 86:10-12.
“For YOU are great and do marvelous deeds; YOU alone are GOD. Teach me YOUR way, LORD, that I may rely on YOUR faithfulness; give me an UNDIVIDED heart, that I may fear YOUR NAME. I will praise YOU, LORD my GOD, with all my heart; I will glorify YOUR NAME forever.”
What an example we’re given of ourselves more often than we care to admit in Luke 18:11! “The Pharisee stood and prayed as such with himself, GOD, I thank THEE, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican!”
So I will tell you that in all my years studying HIS WORD, I never uncovered any reconciliation done by the Pharisees. Existing today in countless Christian denominations and “faiths”, I still hear the LORD’s compassionate cry of revelation to myself and us all.
Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Staying focused then, I redirect myself and those who read this back to “seeking GOD with my whole heart”. This “compare and contrast” effort with the lives of those around us is something our old nature does without prompting.
It can only sin as we read in Romans 7:5 “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were stirred up by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”
Fruit for Death, no less! When we tried to add our works to HIS finished work at Calvary. When we elevated ourselves over the publican and fellow sister or brother in CHRIST. When we refuse to initiate reconciliation to the fallen. But, praise GOD, we have HIS SPIRIT as we read in Romans 8:9.
“But you are not in the flesh, but in THE SPIRIT, if so be that the SPIRIT of GOD dwells in you. Now if any man have not the SPIRIT of CHRIST, he is none of HIS!”
Go down in the chapter a bit further to verses 14-17, “14 For all who are being led by the SPIRIT of GOD, these are sons of GOD. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! FATHER!” 16 The SPIRIT HIMSELF testifies with our spirit that we are children of GOD, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of GOD and fellow heirs with CHRIST, if indeed we suffer with HIM so that we may also be glorified with HIM.”
As Paul was told that he would suffer great things for the NAME of CHRIST, so we are shown the “Why?” in Philippians 3:10 “…that I may know HIM and the power of HIS resurrection, and may share HIS sufferings, becoming like HIM in HIS death…” We are being led by GOD because we feel HIS drawing at our hearts.
We know that HE is GOD because HE, as HE did with Peter in Matthew 16:17 “JESUS answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but MY FATHER WHO is in heaven!”
So we must rejoice and praise HIM for drawing us to HIMSELF, revealing the mysteries of Heaven to our simple souls and securing us for eternity!
So! HOW can we have an undivided heart, a whole heart focused on CHRIST whilst seeking HIM hour by hour, AND….spend so much time judging others?
How can such a fixed gaze upon the eyes of our LORD tolerate an additional, truly critical focus on the words and intentions of the Body (and even the WORD itself)…without immediately reconciling with them? Restoring them back into fellowship? Just as CHRIST has for you…and me?
Therefore, instead of rightly dividing HIS WORD, we separate our hearts to bear the law and its judgements whenever it’s convenient AND ALSO HIS grace…as it applies to us for our benefit!
Lastly, back to Jeremiah 29:13 “…WHEN you seek ME with all your heart.” WHEN we RECONCILE in person or in our hearts fully with others. THEN!
That’s both sides being intentionally and sacrificially into one heart with The ONE WHO spoke our hearts into Life! CHRIST!
The Bishop, Shepherd and MASTER of our souls! So surrender, oh my soul, every part of your heart unto HIM!
Amen and amen!