April 6, 2010
What Makes a Heart Right?
"Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Psalm 32:11 (NIV)
As I read today's key verse, I am so thankful I can rejoice in the Lord and be glad. I am able to sing because my heart is upright. But I have to tell you, this upright heart was pretty downtrodden a few months ago. Have you ever been there, in a place of oppression so heavy your bones ached and you felt as though your energy had been sapped by the summer sun?
It started about this time last year, in the months leading up to our annual She Speaks conference for aspiring or established Christian speakers and writers. Our staff felt the Lord's leading to fast before the conference. Many fasted lunch each Tuesday, while others followed the Lord in obedience by fasting something else. I participated in the lunch fast but confess today to disobeying the Lord when He asked me to fast something else.
This was something I loved. Maybe, too much. It was something that brought me great pleasure. It put a smile on my face. It was…Dr. Pepper! Yes, the Lord asked me to give up Dr. Pepper in obedience to Him and I said no. I chose to live in rebellion to the Lord I claimed to love and continued drinking the soda. It was at this point my relationship with the Lord started to suffer.
The Lord did not abandon me during my rebellion, nor did He stop using me in His kingdom, which made me believe I was "getting away" with my rebellion. I was still speaking, writing, and leading my online Bible study. It appeared that I had my cake, well in this case Dr. Pepper, and was "eating it too."
Shortly after the conference my spirit became restless. I experienced sleepless nights that lead to draining days. My body and spirit became weak. It became more and more difficult to purchase Dr. Pepper. I knew I was in rebellion but chose to compromise instead of confess. When I ordered Dr. Pepper I would order a small and not get refills. When the grocery store had a buy-one-get-one-free special, I would only purchase one twelve pack. I was becoming a master at the "obedience clause" … obeying my way. This went on for months.
David wrote about the cause and effect of living in sin in Psalm 32:3-4, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer" (NIV).
These verses haunted me. There was the truth of my life in black and white. Fortunately in verse 5 David tells us what to do when the symptoms of rebellion become realities in our lives. "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD —and you forgave the guilt of my sin'" (NIV).
So, why am I able to today? Last December I acknowledged my sin to God and stopped covering my iniquity. In addition to my confession and repentance I finally obeyed what God had asked me to do months before, I stopped drinking Dr. Pepper. My strength has been restored and my bones no longer ache. My posture is upright and I'm confident because I am walking in obedience. Will I ever drink Dr. Pepper again? That is a question only the Lord can answer; but until He gives the answer, I want the posture of my heart to be upright, singing along the way.
What is the posture of your heart today? Is it up upright or downtrodden? Read Psalm 32 and follow God's instructions. I promise the results will be uplifting!
Dear Lord, thank You for inspiring David to write this amazing message. Help me to live the truths of Your Word so I can rejoice and be glad in my relationship with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Out of the Mouths of Babes by Wendy Pope
Living Free in Christ: Experiencing Life as it was Meant to be (CD) by Wendy Pope
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Read Psalm 32. Pray through the scripture, asking God to reveal any sin you have not acknowledged.
How do I respond when God asks me to do something?
Why is obeying God difficult for me?
Psalm 32:1, "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." (NIV)
2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)
© 2010 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 06 April 2010.