“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart…” Joel 2:12
“…with ALL your heart…”
Throughout the Old Testament we see God pleading with His people through the prophets to return to Him with ALL of their hearts. To rid their houses and hearts of idols.
I read this verse above in Joel a few days ago, and the word ALL jumped out at me and has continued to echo in my mind…and this question keeps replaying…
“What part of the “all of me” is not turning to the Lord?”
Because He wants all of me.
With the question comes this constant prayer…
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Which part of all of me…which part of all of you….needs to turn to the Lord? What is preventing me from giving ALL of myself wholeheartedly to the Lord? I can’t bless His name with all of my heart and all that is within me if part of my heart is turned against Him.
When God searches us, what does He find? Unforgiveness…bitterness…resentment? A critical spirit…a complaining tongue? Self~pity…a bad attitude? Depression…anxiety? Is there anything that I’m putting before God in my life? My family…my self…my comfort? Am I giving Him my time, or spending it on everything but Him?
These things can sneak up subtly and prevent me from giving ALL of me to the Lord.
And it’s not IF, it’s just when…1 John 1:10 says “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us.”
So we constantly have to ask Him to search us, and then turn ALL of ourselves back to Him.
The good news is…“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
So we give Him ALL of us…all of the mess that we are…and He cleanses us from ALL. (I’ll take it!!)
The next verse in Joel 2…verse 13…says…“…now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness…”
He is Gracious. Compassionate. Slow to Anger. Abounding in Lovingkindness.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and ALL that is within me, bless His holy name…Who pardons ALL your iniquities; Who heals ALL your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your desires with good things…”
My all for You, because You gave it all for me.
Thank You, Father, for cleansing me of ALL of my sin. Thank You for Your faithfulness, for Your patience with me, for Your grace and compassion. Make me like You, Father. Make me slow to anger. Make me more gracious, more compassionate. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Thank You, Jesus, for giving ALL of You so I can be forgiven of ALL and give ALL of myself to You. In Your Name, Amen!!
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16