Monday, August 8, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: God loves you and He wants your whole heart

Give Him Your Heart
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.” 
–Proverbs 23:26 (NLT)

As I perused social media my eyes landed on a friend’s post of a dead snake in her living room.

Posts of snakes always seem to stop me in my tracks, mainly because they are one of those things that I just don't “do”. Her caption detailed a familiar story for those who have felines that roam the outdoors. Cats tend to bring dead animals as offerings to their owners, gifts to show their owners how much these faithful furry friends love them.

My own cats are indoor cats. In Florida the outdoors presents a host of predators including coyotes, alligators and owls. So, I prefer to keep my babies in the safe confines of my house or the screened in porch. However, that does not deter them from their desire to present me with gifts. I will often wake up in the morning to a host of toys next to my bed that they have dropped there during the night. I'm always sure to praise them and thank them for their special surprises. But what I wish they would know is that I love them unconditionally. My adoration for them is not dependent on whether they bring me gifts or whether they are behaving well or being naughty. I love them simply because they are mine and all I want is their love and affection in return.

I've noticed we can be a bit like these kitties when it comes to our relationship with God. Some of us try to earn God's love through a myriad of methods, offerings of sorts, hoping if He is pleased by what we bring we will be worthy of His love. Some of us try to follow the rules bringing an “offering” of obedience. We serve at church as a gift given to the “least of these”. We witness to others, take mission trips, attend church, read the Bible, spend time in prayer, commit to daily “quiet time” and more. While these are admirable disciplines and activities to participate in, engaging in them is not a prerequisite for acceptance and love from God.

More than anything, God wants our whole hearts. However, our flesh tendency is to bring Him offerings of “works”. We know His character, but we expect Him to act outside of it on a daily basis. We repeat verses that assure us we don't have to work or earn his love, yet our actions demonstrate we might not fully believe them. We know that all God is after is our hearts, but we seek to give him more because we fear, deep down inside, that our hearts won't be enough.

But rest assured friends, our heart is enough! It’s all God requires of His children.

Those other “offerings” we bring Him should only be performed as an expression of thanks and adoration to the One Who gave it all hoping, in return, “all to Him we would freely give”. God promises us that when we hand over our heart to Him, He will exchange it for something far better. He promises us in Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT): “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

As is often the case with Jesus Christ, we get the better end of this deal by far! Jesus gave it all just for a chance, a possibility, that we would surrender our heart to Him. Let’s stop bringing sorry substitutes and simply place our hearts on the altar before Him, believing it will rise as a fragrant offering that He enthusiastically accepts. Let’s leave behind the idea that God’s love has to be earned and believe love is lavished on us simply because God loves us…God is love.

Let’s offer God our whole heart and watch Him transform our heart into a heart that resembles His.

Let’s Pray:
Loving Father, thank You for reminding us we don’t have to bring You gifts and offerings to receive Your love, grace and acceptance. We place our whole heart in Your loving hands, fully expecting to receive a new heart that is tender and responsive to You and the stirrings of the Spirit within. Forgive us for times we attempt to earn Your love in any way. We long to hear You tell us one day that we have lived our lives like King David of the Bible—as someone after Your own Heart. May we take delight in following You, lingering in Your lavish love, living free from the feeling we need to bring You anything but our heart to be accepted in Your presence. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I'll Give Him My Heart” (with What Can I Give Him?) (feat. Matthew Wooten) and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him. 

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

Connect with Cyndi on Instagram:

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