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Attaining an Undivided Heart

by Andrew Davis on June 23, 2020

Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.-  Psalm 86:11

An undivided heart is a rare thing these days. Perhaps never in the history of the church have there been so many distractions designed to pull God’s people away from wholehearted devotion and service to Him. The American culture seems saturated with inducements for our hearts to pursue, most of them centered around personal tastes in entertainment. DirecTV offers more than 225 channels of programming, with up to 55 movies available daily! Not to mention the ubiquitous streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ that offer a never-ending supply of movies and shows. This is a symbol of the avalanche of choices available to us, all of which carry with them the distinct possibility of leaving your heart divided.

What is the “heart”? The scripture uses this word to refer to the center of your being. It rejoices (Ps. 4:7) and grieves (Ps. 13:2) and can be in anguish (Ps. 55:4); it desires (Ps. 20:4) and craves (Ps. 10:3); it is the center of truth (Ps. 15:2), it instructs (Ps. 16:7), it meditates (Ps. 19:14), it is courageous (Ps. 27:3) and it can be cowardly (Ps. 18:45), it trusts (Ps. 28:7), it sings (Ps. 30:12), it stores up secrets (Ps. 44:21), it devises and makes plans (Ps. 58:2), it can be wise (Ps. 90:12) or foolish (Psalm 14:1); it can be proud (Ps. 101:5) or humble (Ps. 51:17); it can obey (Ps. 119:34) or rebel (Ps. 53:1). Most of all, the heart has a direction…it is a “desire factory” which is constantly moving, directed toward this or that object of desire.

What is an “undivided heart”? It is one which is totally united on one goal, which harnesses all its powers of thinking, planning, yearning, rejoicing/grieving, choosing/rejecting, loving/hating on one object and only one. Psalm 86 is called a “Prayer of David,” and perhaps it was one of the most important prayers he ever prayed. According to God, David was “a man after my own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14), a man who pursued the heart of God with a remarkable singleness of purpose. Since according to Jeremiah, the heart of man is “deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9), how did David have an “undivided heart?” 

Well, it seems he asked for it! See verse 11: “Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.” So much of the Christian faith is being a “spiritual beggar” (Matt. 5:3). David asked God for an undivided heart, and my surmise is that he did it over and over and over again. And God granted him his request. Many people who love to emphasize human free will in all things neglect passages like this, which seem to show God’s complete freedom in affecting the human heart. God has the right to unite my heart, and He has the right to unite yours, too!!


"What is an 'undivided heart'? It is one which is totally united on one goal..."


If you are feeling scattered in your life, pulled in many directions…if your heart is attracted by the world and bored by God and His majestic Word, your first order of business is to pray David’s heart-uniting prayer: “O Lord, grant me the incredible gift of an undivided heart, in order that I may fear your name.” And look what comes next from David: “I will give thanks to you with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forever” (Ps. 86:12). The first thing an undivided heart does is worship God! Ask Him for an undivided heart, and keep asking until He works it in you!

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