Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only (1 Samuel 7, 3-4).
Now that we took away all the idols of our hearts, we need to serve the Lord with all our heart this year as Joshua commanded the Israelite “But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22, 5).
Things tend to compete for our attention in our Christian walk but we must endeavour this year to keep our heart fixed on God and worship Him alone. Even Jesus had to make that choice when He was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. “And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4, 8).
Our heart is the centre of our emotions, feelings and will. It can determine the course of our actions. We love with the heart and the same heart hates. We kill people in our heart without physically touching them, we commit sin in our heart without it showing (Matthew 5, 21-28).
The bible says “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12, 43).
So what is abundant in our hearts? What is the meditation of our heart? What are our motives? To serve the Lord with our heart is to surrender our emotions, feelings and meditations and will to Him. Our heart might be dictating us to say or do something that in the natural may be right but what is the word of God saying about that? What is our motive behind that action?
This might seem impossible to serve the Lord with “all our heart” as mere mortals with flesh and blood, but that is why we meditate (focus one’s mind, ponder, think deeply) on the word of God. David said in Psalm 119, 11: NKJV “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”. Other translations said: “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Amplified version).
We must keep the word of God as a treasure, a valuable item, a precious stone. We must cherish it in our heart, then out of the abundance of that treasure (the word of God, His commandment, His testimonies, His precepts in our heart) our mouth will begin to speak, our decision will be based on the word and certainly we will be led by it.
The word of God is Spirit and it is Jesus Himself, the word become flesh (John 1, 14). So hiding or treasuring the word in our heart is treasuring and valuing Jesus in our heart and definitely, enthroning Him in our heart where He becomes the Master of our life, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6, 21) and “a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil” (Luke 6, 45).
Serving the Lord with all our heart is to submit wholly to Him, is to have purity of heart and love Him with all that we have and not allow our fleshly desires to lead us. The Lord Himself through the Holy Spirit will grant us the ability to serve Him if we ask Him “because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4, 6).