He has given a place in his heart to the Lord, but he hasn’t given his whole heart to Him. He feels drawn by the Spirit after the things of God, but he also feels drawn by his flesh after the things of the world. While you’ll usually find him in church on Sunday, the rest of the week God has very little place in his life. He seldom communicates with God. He gets so busy in the activities of daily life that God gets squeezed out. And thus, his heart is divided. He feels drawn toward God and the things of the Spirit, but also drawn toward the world.
So often we can feel so pulled by the attractions of the world that our devotion to God becomes something less than total. Do you ever struggle with this? I confess that I sometimes do. And as I feel drawn by this attraction and pulled by this desire, my heart is divided. Such a person has enough of the Lord in his heart to feel very uncomfortable in ungodly surroundings—so he cannot enter fully into the “fun.” He has a check in his spirit that keeps him from plunging totally into the world. And yet he has too much of the world in his heart to be fully happy in Jesus, to have real joy in the Lord. And so he’s miserable. Misery—it’s just one result of a divided heart.
A divided heart will do more than make you miserable. It will make your life difficult and cause an endless stream of problems for you. Think about this from the other side for a moment. What do you know about people with divided hearts? I can think of at least three major weaknesses they all have.
1. A divided heart often will not stick around.
Imagine you are a woman looking for a husband. You certainly don’t want some fellow with a divided heart. He’s likely to say, “Oh yes, I love you—as well as every other little doll on the block.” No way! You want his heart to be single toward you. You cannot afford to constantly question his devotion.
First Chronicles 12:33 describes how fifty thousand men of Zebulun once gathered before David to present themselves as loyal soldiers. These experts in war would not break rank. In the heat of battle, when the pressure was on, David could count on these men to stand together. The King James Version of the Bible declares, “They were not of double heart.”
True strength never lies in numbers. It doesn’t lie even in abilities. True strength always lies in singleness of heart.
2. A divided heart is not committed to winning.
No coach is apt to choose players with half-hearted attitudes toward winning. He won’t select guys who come prancing onto the field saying, “My, what a beautiful day! I suppose we should practice. Isn’t it nice that it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose?” Any decent coach would say, “Get out of here!” He wants his players completely devoted to winning. That’s why you may hear him quote the old saying, “Winning isn’t everything—it’s the only thing.” He certainly doesn’t want any divided hearts.
The Bible says that a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:8). In other words, you cannot trust him. When things get tough, he may just give up since it doesn’t matter much to him whether you win or lose. True commitment never lies in words or intentions. It lies in singleness of heart.
3. A divided heart is unsure of who he or she is.
People with divided hearts do not have a clear idea of where they stand with the Lord. Therefore, whenever it feels convenient and advantageous, they can put on the Christian shield and sing the choruses of the church. They’re spiritual chameleons suffering from a divided heart.
However, when dark days come, they don’t know how best to ask the Lord for His help. They don’t know Him well. They don’t know His Word. They don’t remember His promises. So they grow fearful, anxious, and discouraged—and at that moment, all the chameleon skin in the world doesn’t bring them an ounce of comfort.
True confidence will never lie in fitting in and it doesn’t lie in adaptability. Faith and true confidence will always lie in singleness of heart.
– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith