Every day, I’m in a battle.
My enemy? The world.
The prize? My time. My attention. My loyalties. And most valuable of all, my heart.
My foe is cunning and crafty with many tried and true weapons at his disposal. His favorites— stress, conflict, busyness, social media, peer pressure. Each of these he knows well and wields skillfully.
He also knows he doesn’t need to attack with all of them at once. If he can use just one to successfully invade and conquer the territory of my heart, his mission will be accomplished. My heart: divided.
For me, it would be a hopeless, losing battle, if not for one detail.
I too, am armed.
My weapons? The word of God. The angel armies of the Most High. And a mighty weapon that is as unlikely as it is deadly. Time spent in the stillness of sitting at my Savior’s feet. It is this defense that causes my enemy to tremble.
Because he knows if I pray, all his weapons would be of no use against me. His main tactic would have no appeal.
Which is why, before he can launch his attack, I run to my Strong Tower with these words upon my lips.
“Lord, give me an undivided heart before You.”
It’s not an easy thing to be in our current culture.
There are so many things pulling us this way and that. Voices trying to tell us what to think, how to feel. There’s so much to do— an absolute myriad of opportunities and possibilities. With all of that noise, it’s no wonder we end up feeling so empty and distracted…divided.
I’m sure you’ve felt it. I know I have. It’s that feeling of being torn in two, a part of you drawn to one thing, another to something else. It takes away our peace and joy, leaving us frazzled and confused.
I find it fascinating that the Hebrew word for the antonym of divided—whole or undivided—is the word Shalom. You might recognize this word because it’s most often translated as peace.
Do you see it?
Some of my favorite Scriptures have a few things to say about Shalom as well.
“You keep him in perfect peace (Shalom) whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace (Shalom).” (John 16:32)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace (Shalom) of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
If you look closely, you’ll notice a common theme.
In God’s presence, in the fullness of His love, as we present our requests to Him, there is peace and wholeness. True peace is found in the presence of the Giver of Peace—Jehovah Shalom.
This brings us back to the war—that daily battle for our attention that’s being waged all around us.
Our enemy doesn’t want us to spend time in the sweet simplicity of our Savior’s presence. He doesn’t want us to have Shalom.
He wants us divided.
Because a divided person is an ineffective person. Someone whose heart is torn in two doesn’t know what they believe, or how they should act. A divided person will never be a world-changer for Christ.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not the person I want to be. I want to be effective for the Gospel. I desire peace and wholeness.
At the same time, however, I realize there are so many things in my life that do divide and distract me. Things like my schedule and to-do list. Things like social media and the internet, which have the possibility to steal my time, and ruin my peace. None of these are bad in and of themselves, but allowing them to overtake my mind leaves me open and vulnerable for an attack from the enemy.
I’ve discovered only one effective fortress in protecting the territory of my heart. Jehovah Shalom. When I take the time to clear my mind of all distractions and fix my eyes solely on Christ, I find that He gives me a greater joy and peace than anything else ever has or ever could.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not always easy. There are days I don’t feel like reading my Bible or praying. Times when I think skipping my prayer time and jumping right into my to-list would be much more productive. But what I’ve learned is that, when I feel this way, I can be sure I’m in the middle of a thick battle. When I don’t give in to the devil, and instead press in to God, that’s when He profoundly speaks to my heart and gives me a fresh measure of peace.
Is it hard to just sit in God’s presence when all the things I have to do are calling me? Yes. But it’s totally, absolutely, wonderfully worth it.
I challenge you today to stop and simply delight in the presence of God. Quiet the noise and let His peace wash over you.
Let Him give you an undivided heart. A heart guarded by Shalom. A heart that will not be easily invaded.
A heart wholly and surely His.
“Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart…” (Psalm 86:11-12)