By Contributor Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry
“Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace.”
“If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.”
“In that stillness you will know what His will is.” – Amy Carmichael, Missionary to India (1867-1951)
Wow. “Blessed are the single-hearted…”
Isn’t that a beautiful focus?
Seeking God, more than anything
Oh, I want to be “single-hearted” for the Lord, with my entire soul (my mind, my will, and my emotions) staying steadfastly on God, and not going off on some “crazy-wild-goose-chase” of distraction from God’s peace and God’s best.
I want to STAY single-hearted in that place of stillness with Him, where my spirit is clear and uncluttered . . . so I can know His perfect will . . . and I can know Him.
I want to live and “stay” in that place of total peace with God.
What is really the #1 most important focus of my heart?
More than anything, I want to know God.
–Not just know “about” God.
–Not just know “how” to have an impressive devotional life.
–Not just know “how” to live as a godly or visionary woman.
–Not just know “how” to make an effective difference “for Him” in this world.
More than anything, I want to know God, personally and intimately.
I want to care about my relationship “with Him” more than anything.
–More than my relationship with my husband.
–More than that priority time with my kids.
–More than my special “girl-time” with my dearest friends.
–More than special “family-time” with our extended relations.
–Even more than I care about doing stuff “for Him” and for His kingdom.
–Even more than seeking His direction, or His provision, or His grace.
–And even more than seeking His help to finish everything on my “to-do-list.”
Being single-hearted means caring more about my relationship “with God”
than anything I might do “for God.”
Seeking God, more than His fruit
I want to live in God’s peace.
I want to abide with Him — “hooked-in” to His Vine (as Jesus instructed us in John 15) — yet not with the purpose of merely trying to bear impressive fruit “for” God, but because I want to be connected “with” God.
If I stay in this single-hearted relationship with God, then His good fruit in my life will simply be a natural by-product!
More than anything, I want to seek God’s face. I want to seek Him. And by God’s grace, it’s so awesome to be able to say with complete 100% assurance:
“I DO . . . know God.”
Wow. What a joy to be able to say that and to know that it’s really true.
Seeking God, more than His help and His gifts
I’m thankful to God for so many things: for my husband and my children, for all that God has provided for me, for my home, and for the mission work God has allowed our family to be a part of. Yet way-more than any of these wonderful gifts and people and ministries God has blessed us with, I’m simply thankful for God Himself, the One who is the “Gift-giver.”
And more than anything, I’m so thankful for the greatest gift of all, God’s salvation: for His Cross and His precious blood shed for me, to pay that horrible sin-penalty that I deserved. Oh, I love my Lord Jesus Christ, so very, very much!
Yet the more I grow closer to God, the more I realize how much more of Him there is to know. God is way-beyond my comprehension. He’s so big and so mighty.
–He’s greater than any gift or blessing.
–And He’s infinitely greater than any challenge, or struggle, or need.
As I worship Him and magnify Him, my problems and needs become minuscule in comparison with His greatness.
Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
Seeking God, more and more
Knowing God is not a one-time prayer (any more than saying “I DO” in a wedding ceremony is the grand finale of a marriage); our initial prayer of salvation and surrender to the Lord is only the beginning of our new life as followers of God and as His disciples-in-training.
Knowing the Lord, and becoming more-and-more “single-hearted” toward Him, is a growing process. As I spend time with Him in prayer and daily fellowship, and as I spent time in the Bible (reading, studying, memorizing, and thinking and pondering His words and His ways), my relationship with Him and my knowledge of His ways keeps growing deeper and deeper.
“To every toiling, heavy-laden sinner, Jesus says, ‘Come to me and rest’. But there are many toiling, heavy-laden believers, too. For them this same invitation is meant. Note well the words of Jesus, if you are heavy-laden with your service, and do not mistake it. It is not, ‘Go, labor on,’ as perhaps you imagine. On the contrary, it is stop, turn back, ‘Come to me and rest.’ Never, never did Christ send a heavy laden one to work; never, never did He send a hungry one, a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one, away on any service. For such the Bible only says, ‘Come, come, come.’” –Hudson Taylor
Prayer doesn’t have to be difficult.
God already knows everything. He knows my every thought. He sees my scatterbrained ideas. He knows what I’ve seen and what I deeply care about. He knows my inward attitudes (both the bad and the good). He knows it all.
I constantly pour out my heart to Him. Sometimes out-loud or mumbling to myself. Sometimes in songs of praise. Sometimes on paper. Sometimes in a journal. Sometimes in a notebook binder (I have this one 3-ring-binder I call my “brain-in-a-binder” — which is a place where I do all of my “brain dumping” — pouring-out all of my jumbled ideas and thoughts and to-do’s and projects and prayers).
If I abide with God, “hooked-in” to the Vine (of relationship “with” Him and knowing Him), He will direct my “to-do’s.”
He will help me to manage my life and my family and my home. He will give me His grace to do whatever He calls me to do . . . if I take time to be “single-hearted” and to STAY in that place of abiding in His peace and in His presence.
“The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek for sunshine, and there to find rain. No; it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is the right fruit found on it. Let us so abide in the Lord Jesus.”
“All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they believed that God would be with them. I myself, for instance, am not especially gifted, and am shy by nature, but my gracious and merciful God and Father inclined Himself to me, and when I was weak in faith He strengthened me while I was still young. He taught me in my helplessness to rest on Him, and to pray even about little things in which another might have felt able to help himself.”
“In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon.”
“You must go forward on your knees.”
–Hudson (& Maria) Taylor, Missionary to China (1832-1905)
May God help us to rest in union and communion with Him, “abiding” with Him and continually connected in a beautiful and personal relationship.
May God help us to be single-hearted . . . for Him.