From Our Hearts to Yours
I love to run. In fact, I’ve been a runner since high school. Well, one bright sunny California Saturday, I decided I would see just how far I could run. So off I went running… five… ten… fifteen miles…
It was at the 15-mile mark that I figured it was time to head for home. One reason was because my running conditions were no longer very pleasant because the early morning sun had turned into the oppressive heat of midday.
Another reason was because I hadn’t taken any water with me. I was beginning to crave water, the essential element for life. By the time I was within a few miles of home, all I could think about was water, water, more water, lots of water! My body ached for that life-giving substance. As I staggered into my house after 21 miles, I was truly panting for water.
This kind of desire is the kind of thirst we are to have for God’s Word. Our physical body knows it cannot function without physical water. So, too, our spiritual life should realize it can’t function without the “living water” of God’s Word. The psalmist described this craving for God in this way:
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2).
Do you have this kind of craving for God and His Word? Just as water is the only substance that can relieve your thirst, God’s Word is the only substance that can satisfy your spiritual thirst and ensure your spiritual growth.
I have found David… a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.
God’s words about David were spoken in startling contrast to the character of the reigning king of Israel, Saul.
Here’s a little background information. Speaking on behalf of God, the prophet Samuel rebuked Saul for failing to obey God’s specific instructions (1 Samuel 13). Again and again, as reported in 1 Samuel, Saul overstepped his bounds, the ones God set for him. On several occasions he specifically disobeyed God. Although he was very careful to offer prescribed sacrifices to God, Saul failed to offer God the ultimate sacrifice—obedience from a heart wholly devoted to Him (1 Samuel 15:22).
Finally, after one extremely serious act of disobedience, God sent Samuel to Saul with a twofold message: “Your kingdom shall not continue” and “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
God was communicating something along this order—”Saul, you’re through as king. I’ve put up with your rebellious, unresponsive heart long enough, and now I’ve found just the right man to serve Me. This man who will take your place is a man with a responsive heart, a man with a heart of obedience, a man who will follow all My commands, fulfill all My desires, and do all My will.”
Here we witness two very different kinds of hearts—the heart of David and the heart of Saul.
- David served God while Saul served himself and did things his way.
- David was concerned with following God’s will, but Saul cared solely for his own will.
- David’s heart was centered on God, and Saul’s was centered on Saul.
- Even though David didn’t always obey God, he had what mattered over the long haul—a heart after God. In sharp contrast, Saul’s devotion to God was impulsive and sporadic.
- Although David was well-known for his physical prowess and might as a warrior, he was humbly dependent upon God, trusting in Him and repeatedly acknowledging, “The Lordis the strength of my life” (Psalm 27:1). Saul, on the other hand, was proud. He relied on his own skill, his own wisdom and judgment, and his arm of flesh.
God gave both of these kings opportunities to lead Israel, but in the end they walked down different paths—Saul away from God and David toward Him.
How’s your heart? The heart God delights in is compliant, cooperative, and responsive to Him and His commands.
He who finds a good wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
Let’s revisit your courtship with your wife. Did you strive to be her best friend? I know you did! You were probably a little jealous if she spent time with any person other than you. Did you like being in her company and doing crazy things together? Elizabeth and I were the same way—we were best friends while we were dating.
During courtship, it seems as if the pure joy of just being together will never end. But after marriage, for some reason, that seems to fade away, doesn’t it? What happened? Here’s a basic formula that seems applicable to many of us:
time + familiarity + distractions + duties = diminished interest
In other words, the demands and distractions of daily life crept into that beautiful friendship and began to erode the relationship.
How can you recapture that friendship you enjoyed with your wife while you two were dating? To begin, think back on those days. What did you do to nurture your relationship with your wife-to-be? Take a moment to write a list. Then make a commitment to do some of these activities again—the activities that helped you to become best friends. After all, after your friendship with God, your wife’s friendship is the greatest treasure you possess.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…
To be honest, I can’t remember much about my wedding or what was said during the ceremony—it’s all a blur in my mind. I do, however, remember coming into the church from a side entrance with the minister and my best man. There I stood, in front of all those people, waiting for my bride-to-be… with a beet-red face! No, I wasn’t embarrassed or suffering from an attack of hives. I was sunburned from water-skiing all day with my buddies from the wedding party. The wedding started at 8:00 p.m., and it must have been an extremely short ceremony because in our after-wedding pictures of Elizabeth’s and my hands with our new wedding rings, my watch reads 8:20 p.m.!
Now let’s put you on the hot spot. What about you and your wedding? In the months or years since that day, have you thought back on the vows you made to your bride? Our wedding day is one of the most important occasions in our life. What we say at that ceremony affects us for the rest of our lives.
Just for today think about what you can do–today and every day in the future–to truly fulfill the vows you made to your bride—whether those vows were made yesterday, last week, last year, or in my case, decades ago.