Do Not Go to Pieces

The Lord is present with us, near, at hand, ready to carry us in his arms.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 

“Do not be anxious.” That is a hard one for me. Actually, anxiety is pretty pandemic right now, wouldn’t you say? The Greek word is merimnáō which means “drawn in opposite directions,” “divided into parts,” “to go to pieces” because pulled apart in different directions. Literally, it means “to be divided.”i 

I am very familiar with the “go to pieces” part of anxiety, also the “pulled apart in different directions” situation. However, the “to be divided” meaning of the word caught my attention and reminded me of David and his undivided heart.  

Undivided heart  

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11 

David was actually praying for “unitedness of heart”- a heart not divided into parts, not pulled apart in different directions. A heart not pulled apart by fears and idolatries. A heart united in focus and trust. 

This is not something that we can accomplish ourselves I don’t think, but God promised through the prophets to give us this undividedness, this singleness and unitedness of heart. 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19 

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. Jeremiah 32:39 

One 

The word translated “undivided” and “singleness” in these verses is the Hebrew word echad – one. God was promising to give us one heart. It is the same word as in this verse: 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deuteronomy 6:4 

This is the verse that Jesus pointed to when one of the teachers of the law came and asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:28-30 

In the Greek the word describing God as “one” is holos. It means whole, complete. It means “wholly, where all the parts are present and working as a whole.” 

“All the parts are present.” God is always one; he is never divided. He never “goes to pieces.” He is never pulled apart in different directions. All the parts – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One. Present. With us.  

Let’s look at Philippians 4:6 again in context: 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (at hand, near, nigh, ready). Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace (eirḗnē = wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together) of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 

It looks like not being anxious, pulled apart, and divided, but trusting God with our prayers and petitions, gives us His peace and enables us to have a gentle demeanor, evident to all. After Jesus spoke the most important, or first, commandment – to love the Lord your God with all your heart – he continued with the second most important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  

This may seem impossible, especially in these anxious and contentious days, but let me leave you with a wonderful hidden treasure in this verse. The word translated “near” in “the Lord is near,” comes from a Greek word that means “an arm, especially as bent to receive a burden.” Do you see what that says? You don’t have to be anxious for anything because the Lord is present with us, near, at hand, ready to carry us in his arms. He carries all our burdens. Our strength and ability are in Him. 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:20-23 (ESV) 

i All definitions from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance 

Image, Safe by Barbara W https://www.flickr.com/photos/barbasia/15537309689/

Inside the Heart

Again, this week, God had a message for me through the blogs and devotionals that I receive. I pray this blesses you too. And thank you to all you wonderful bloggers out there!

Have no motivation other than to know your Father in heaven … Prayer is not simply getting things from God— that is only the most elementary kind of prayer. Prayer is coming into perfect fellowship and oneness with God. If the Son of God has been formed in us through regeneration (see Galatians 4:19), then He will continue to press on beyond our common sense and will change our attitude about the things for which we pray. — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, updated edition 

Fixing our eyes on Christ is the first step and the entire path of the Christian life. We don’t look to Christ in faith to be saved and then look to ourselves to persevere. We trust Christ alone as our Savior and look to Christ alone and follow Him as our Lord. In order to look to Christ as our Savior and Lord, we need new eyes and a new heart … As we grow in the grace and holiness of our Lord, being enabled by God’s free grace to die more and more unto sin and live unto righteousness, we’re called neither to fix our eyes on ourselves nor to fix our eyes on our own sins that entangle themselves around our ankles. We’re called to run with endurance by looking to Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith. We are united to Christ and are made able and willing to turn our eyes upon Jesus — away from ourselves — so that by looking to Him, we are motivated to joyful, cross-bearing obedience as we “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him . . . for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Col. 1:10–11). — Burk Parsons via Dr. Peter Cockrell, Already Not Yet   https://pjcockrell.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/fixing-our-eyes-on-jesus/  

The praise of peace 

The peace in praise 

Inside the heart is Jesus raised 

The ransom paid in love the cost 

So that my soul may not be lost 

I praise the peace in Him alone 

Forgiven sins He did atone 

In peace He holds me close to thee 

In praise I pray to constant be 

 — Sisylala  https://sisylala.wordpress.com/2020/09/15/the-praise-of-peace-the-peace-in-praise/  

Foxes have their holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head ~ Matthew 8:20 

Jesus, being all-knowing knew that the teacher of the law meant that he wanted to follow Jesus from place to place physically, yet Jesus wanted a place to abide- in the spiritual sense of the word. Jesus wanted the teacher of the law to ‘realise that I am in the Father, and you are in me and I am in you’ (John 14:20). In other words, Jesus was beckoning for the man to, ‘Remain in me, and I will remain in you’ (15:v4) … Once we accept Jesus and His Holy Spirit lives in us, then we become God-carriers. Paul writes, ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price’ (Galatians 6: 19-20) … we are like an empty shell without God in us. — Mulyale Mutisya   https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/foxes-have-their-holes/   

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19 

[All added emphasis mine.]

Image, “Empty Shell Close Up” Pixabay2018 

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