Heart Engagement
Heart Engagement

Heart Engagement

19474052_mGod asks us, “Who hath engaged his heart to approach unto Me?” (Jer 30:21 KJV).
The first picture that this Scripture paints  in my heart is that of revving up the engine of a standard transmission car without releasing the clutch! A lot of noise and wasted energy, but the car remains in the same place. Our times of prayer,  praise, and worship can be supercharged at top rpm’s, but without letting out the clutch and engaging our hearts, not much is accomplished.
That was exactly where the Pharisees were in Jesus’ day. They had supercharged engines revved up with all the Scriptures and perfected rules and regulations, but their hearts were completely disengaged. Jesus made this bold statement to them:

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'” (Mark 7:6-7 NKJV).

God’s question in Jeremiah provokes yet another thought within me:  Our lives are a complicated network of gears – one gear grinding against another and so much going on. Yet, when it comes to taking time with the Lord, it is essential to first disengage everything else, and then only can we fully engage the heart.
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, we find that this is exactly what Mary did: she chose “that good part which shall not be taken away.” Martha’s heart was engaged with many important things, but she was missing out on that divine moment of engaging with Jesus – “the one needful thing” (Luke 10:38-42). The Psalmist David understood this when he proclaimed, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after…” (Psalms 27:4 KJV).
“I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart…” (Psalms 9:1 NKJV)  “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1). David knew what heart engagement was all about and this is most likely why God refers to David as a “man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).
On many occasions in Psalms, David takes several verses simply to tell the Lord that he is going to tell the Lord something (as strange as that might sound!). Look at this psalm where David uses seven separate expressions to do just that:

Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up (Psalm 5:1-3 NKJV).

David also knew that there are divine moments when God  calls us to seek Him. In such spontaneous, unannounced moments, David had exercised himself to disengage all else and then to engage his heart with equal spontaneity:

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” Do not hide Your face from me…” (Psalms 27:8-9a NASB ).

Engaging one’s heart also involves understanding the seriousness of the moment. In other Bible translations of Jeremiah 30:21, the expression “who has engaged his heart” takes on an additional meaning:

 “…For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 30:21 NASB).

The original Hebrew word used in this psalm actually supports both of  versions. The whole idea here is that when one’s life is at risk, there is a whole-heartedness in everything that one does or says. All flippancy and light-heartedness flee away. This is best illustrated by how Esther risked her life to come and stand before the king (Esther 4:16). One move of the king’s scepter would mean death or life! “If I perish, I perish!” were Esther’s words. Her heart was focused (she spent several days fasting), her mind was determinedly clear, and her words were planned out and intentional!
Of course, we have no need to fear our loving King’s scepter, it’s already been stretched out in favor towards us through Jesus Christ and by the Blood He shed. Nevertheless, as we draw near to Him, we should do so with a true, sincere, and engaged heart:

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith… (Hebrews 10:19-22 NASB).

May the Lord help us to be a people of purpose with hearts fully engaged as we continue our sweet fellowship with the Lord and our service for Him.

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