Monthly Archives: July 2013

Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing

Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing is Søren Kierkegaard’s classic meditation on James 4:8double_minded

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

This book is definitely worth the investment of time. Kierkegaard’s keen insight into human nature is obvious in every line of the book. He explores the nature of the human will and its desires. Reading the book is an exercise in increasing self-awareness, particularly our propensity to be double-minded in our will and desires.

Kiekegaard points out that repentance is a guide that leads us to purity of heart.

“But there is a concerned guide, a knowing one, who attracts the attention of the wanderer, who calls out ot him that he should take care. That guide is remorse. He is not so quick of foot as the indulgent imagination, which is the servant of desire. He is not so strongly built as the victorious intention. He comes on slowly afterwards. He grieves. But he is a sincere and faithful friend. If that guide’s voice is never heard, then it is just because one is wandering along the way of perdition. For when the sick man is wasting away from consumption believes himself to be in the best of health, his disease is at the most terrible point…So wonderful a power is remorse, so sincere is its friendship that to escape it entirely is the most terrible thing of all.”

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The Prayer of Jehoshaphat

jehoshNot quite as catchy as “The Prayer of Jabez,” but Jehoshaphat’s prayer is equally memorable. He was one of the good kings of Judah – “he sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments.” And he led all the people to do the same thing. [His story is recorded in 2 Chronicles 17-20]

He sent the priests all over the country teaching the Book of the Law, he tore down high places all over the country, and he set his heart to seek after God. But Jehoshaphat was a mixed bag. He made an alliance with Ahab, the evil king of Israel. He didn’t actually tear down all the high places of idol worship in the land. And near the end of his life, he made an alliance with a pagan king, which God had forbidden.

Nevertheless, the Bible commends Jehoshaphat’s efforts to eradicate false worship and wholly pursue the Lord. He is certainly an easy character to appreciate and identify with.

 

Jehoshaphat’s prayer. I want to emulate his humble dependence on God. At one point, several foreign kings join together to fight against Judah. Jehoshaphat gathers his people from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord. He stands up in the midst of all the people and prays to God for deliverance – “We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

This humble reliance on God should characterize us. We should approach each day, each decision, with this prayer, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Jehoshaphat’s sin. For every good decision he made, there was at least one bad decision. He turned away from sin and sincerely sought the Lord. But despite his godly leadership, he still failed to walk singleheartedly. This is the Christian’s experience of life. As much as I desire to do good, I inevitably incur guilt through poor judgment and sinful selfishness. The root of sin remains.

Seeing a reflection of myself in his sin, I’m thankful again for Jesus Christ, and find myself laying hold of him for the forgiveness and freedom from the weight of guilt.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

(Psalm 32:1-2)