Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.”
Genesis 19: 1
King James Version
“Living with a Divided Heart”
“If your heart is not clear and undivided – ‘single,’ as Jesus put it – then it will be weak, flabby, and indolent, incapable of accepting God’s will, of making important decisions, and of taking strong action. That is why Jesus attached the greatest significance to singleness of heart, simplicity, unity, solidarity, and decisiveness.”
Do I have a singleness of purpose in my life?
“Blessed are the single-hearted; for they shall enjoy much peace.”
Thomas á Kempis
“If the heart is devoted to the mirage of the world, to the creature instead of the Creator, the disciple is lost. However urgently Jesus may call us, His call fails to find access in our hearts. Our hearts are closed, for they have already been given to another.”
Yesterday, my doctor requested I have a test that shows the valves in your heart. Thankfully, everything was normal. I have to say it was interesting watching the monitor as the valves opened and blood flowed from one chamber of my heart to another. What was even more fascinating was that with a totally painless procedure that took only 15 minutes, I could, on the monitor, see all four chambers of my heart very clearly.
The experience got me to thinking how our hearts work as one cohesive unit in order to get life-sustaining blood pumping from one organ – our heart – throughout our entire body.
But what do you think would happen if one side of your heart could not communicate with the other? What if your heart was divided in half and it became impossible for it to work as one united organ? I can assure you – you wouldn’t live long. Death is exactly what happens to us when we physically have a divided heart. But spiritual death can also be the consequence of a spiritually divided heart.
Sadly, no family exemplifies this truth more than “Lot’s family.”
Yesterday we learned that Lot “pitched” his tent “permanently” or as one translator says, “for eternity” in the beautiful Jordan valley. To be quite honest, “for eternity” is a prophetic phrase as it refers to Lot’s wife and children for they ended up never leaving the Jordan valley which they came to love – a place that truly “possessed” them.
As we studied, Lot thought he could keep his family free from the taint of the wickedness of Sodom by keeping his home outside of Sodom in the valley. How wrong he was. Who knows, perhaps business endeavors took Lot into Sodom so frequently he finally said, “Let’s just move there, then I don’t have to travel so much.” Maybe Mrs. Lot loved the culture and shopping for historians tell us that Sodom was known for commerce and culture. Or maybe Lot’s children wanted to take advantage of educational opportunities available only in Sodom.
All we know is that in one verse Lot is permanently pitching his tents outside of Sodom and the very next time we meet him, he and his family live in Sodom. He’s sitting at the gate, no less. A place where the “respected” are invited to render decisions for all the cities’ citizens. What we find right off the bat is that Lot is respected in an unrespected city. Talk about a divided heart. You see, Lot’s family wasn’t wicked. I’m certain they convinced themselves very easily that they were above the really “bad” behavior of Sodom. But lest we think we are above Lot in our behavior I want to go forward to the time of the prophet Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 16: 49-50 (K.J.V.), this prophet was giving a warning to the wayward people who had forgotten God. And he reminded everyone of the folks who lived in Sodom. I’m certain, like myself, you have heard of the “sins” of Sodom preached in churches and often these sins focus on sexual behavior. Well, listen to what Ezekiel said: “Behold, this was iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me…”
You see, when Lot and his family settled permanently with their eyes looking at Sodom, they began to long for Sodom’s bounty – the easy life. A life of extravagance. A life of pleasure. It wasn’t an evil life. They weren’t bad people. Their purpose just began to change. The direction of their compass moved from the heavenly to the earthly and soon, those qualities that heaven plants in our hearts began to fade. Compassion and generosity were replaced by pride and arrogance. And believe me, it didn’t happen overnight. It never does! What once seemed like behavior that wasn’t desired or tolerated, became accepted. The heart divided became unfunctional to the point that the Bible tells us Heavenly angels had to take Lot, his wife and only two of his children and drag them out of the city in order to save their lives.
We should take note; Sodom isn’t some despicable city that can’t draw us in. Sodom for each of us is something different for it is whatever divides our heart and thus causes death to the spiritual being God created us to be.
“No one ever became extremely wicked all at once.”
“My God, I am not my own but yours.
Take me for your own,
and help me in all things to do your holy will.
My God, I give myself to you,
in joy and sorrow,
in sickness and in health,
in success and in failure,
in life and in death,
in time and for eternity.
Make me and keep me your own;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.