Worst. Date. Ever. It trumped the date where I had an allergic reaction and my lips swelled up like inner tubes. It beat out the date where the sweet guy stared deeply into my eyes and said not one word… for five straight hours. The date was truly awful. And it was all my fault.
Once a week, I have a date with Jesus. Because I am single, I have the luxury of cultivating my relationship with my Savior in unconventional ways. It is a time to shut out all the extra voices in my life – mostly Facebook, Twitter and my phone – and just be with Jesus. It is a time in the Word, meditating on the rich truths of Scripture, basking in His presence, worshipping His glory with no set end-time. It’s a beautiful evening. Or it was…until this week. I had a bad attitude. When date night arrived, I was only halfway through my 24-hour pity party. Needless to say, the evening went downhill fast. There was sulking and whining. There was selfishness and pride. There were petulant demands and pouting.
A four-hour date night and I spent every minute focused on myself.
The next morning I woke before the alarm went off, after a restless night of tossing and turning. There was a lump in my throat as I picked up my Bible. Heartsick, I grieved at what I had deliberately done to my Jesus, whom I love. I had ruined what could have been a beautiful evening of worship to my Lord by spending the date worshipping myself. I opened the Bible and read of Israel’s unfaithfulness. I was positively revolted by their actions, how they continually turned from Him to chase after worldly things and false gods. Then it hit me – I am exactly like them. My sinful heart continually leads me to stray from my God. If I am not constantly being saturated with Jesus, “following my heart” usually leads me to cheat on my Savior with the things of this world. I ended my quiet time with a time of worship and the Holy Spirit pierced my heart with the song “Forever Reign”. The last phrase says, “My heart will sing of no other name but you, Jesus.” I couldn’t bring myself to utter those words. They would have been a lie. Because my heart is so full of sinful flesh, it sings of the things of the flesh – not only of Jesus.
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My cheating heart sings of hopes and dreams
For singles, it may be the dream of a husband and children. For the career-focused woman, it may be a new job or the next promotion. For the wife, it may be healing in her marriage or a romantic gesture from her husband. For the busy mom, it may be a day off, a maid or some peace and quiet. For the romantic, it may be to find her soul mate and experience true love. No matter what the dream, if we allow it to become our reason for living, we reduce God’s role in our lives to merely the mechanism for achieving our dreams. When the dream takes the place of God in our time, our heart or our prayer life…. It is idolatry. We must first delight in our Lord and let our dreams flow from our relationship with Him. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
My cheating heart sings of things
We always want more. We’re always looking for the next upgrade. The flesh is never satisfied. No matter how much we have, there’s always more we don’t have… and really, really want. Shoes. Furniture. Appliances. Electronics. Clothes. Vehicles. Homes. Vacations. Food. There is always more and if we are not on guard, our hearts will chase after those things rather than Jesus. We work hard so we can get more, not because we want to make His name great. Material things are not intrinsically bad, but when our desire for them takes up more time, energy and money than our desire for the Lord, those things have become idols. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also….No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:19-24
My cheating heart sings of me
Deciding to ‘indulge’ in selfish habits. Participating in that sin…just one more time. Choosing to sleep longer, hang out with friends or go on that date rather than spending time with Jesus each day. Spending money on something on our wish list, rather than tithing. Living in the flesh, rather than the Spirit. When we choose to wallow in the flesh, we are worshipping self over God. Anything given first place – God’s place – in our hearts, is idolatry. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3
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How do you know if you have a cheating heart? How do you know what you heart sings for? Look at your life. Luke 6:45 says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” What are you talking about? What are you tweeting? What are you spending money on? What are your prayer requests? If your heart is being controlled by the Spirit, your life will declare it. Our daily, boring actions and conversations reveal who or what holds the affection of our hearts.
“Lord, save me from my cheating heart!” And he has. If you are a child of God, all you have to do is repent and your sin is forgiven. James says as much to the church, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4: 4-8)
It’s that simple. Repent of your idolatry. Submit yourself in obedience to God. Draw near to your God. He has forgiven you, paid for your sin, and given you the grace to start again with a new heart.
Every time I think of that date night, I still feel a little heartsick. I love my Savior. I really do! And when I’m with Him, He’s all I want. But when I’m away from Him, I want me more. The only recourse to keep my cheating heart from cheating on my Savior again and again is to saturate my life with Him. If I am only faithful when I’m with Him, then I will do whatever it takes to be with Him all the time.
And that’s exactly what Scripture tells us to do. Write the commands of God on your heart and talk of them everywhere you go. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut. 6:4-9) Guard your heart and soul, that you do not forget your God. “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.” (Deut 4:9) Joshua describes it as ‘clinging to God’, “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5) So, how can we reform a cheating heart? Time with Jesus.
A life saturated with Jesus is the only treatment for a cheating heart.
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Yes, our hearts are evil, desperately sick and contaminated by sinful flesh. (Jeremiah 17:9) But we have hope, because we are no longer slaves to the flesh – we have been set free! (Romans 6:17-19) We confess our idolatry and unfaithfulness and are cleansed. (Psalm 51:16-17) We do not lose heart, for there is more grace. (2 Corinthians 4:12-18) His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) So, we store up his Word in our hearts that we may never cheat on Him again. (Psalm 119:10-11)
One day, when we kneel before our Savior in glory, we will be able to truthfully say for all eternity, “My heart sings of no other name but you, Jesus.”
Until then, we continually turn our hearts to Jesus and pray, “Lord, may my heart sing of no other name but Yours today.