Developing a Heart for God


Every year millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise, improve health or lose weight. All of these resolutions are important, noble and supported by scripture.  Romans 12:1 (NRSV) states: I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  It is important for us to be good stewards of our lives, bodies, and the resources God provides to us. Stewardship in Greek (οἰκονομία) means management (administration), i.e. where a person looks after another’s affairs (resources).

Let’s resolve together to live healthier lives in 2016! Should you accept this challenge, First Baptist Church of Jericho will partner with you to reach that goal. Why should a church get involved in this personal endeavor you may ask? In Galatians 6:2, Paul urged the Church to “bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” So it is our love for one another that compels us to get involved. Sin and Satan intend to rob us of life and the fulfillment of the precious gift God has given each of us. Scripture tells us, “the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). We are in this Christian walk together and FBCJ will side with “life” for its people.

We are a few decisions away from a healthier and better life in 2016! We can start by making our relationship with God our number one priority. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Then, just like David, we must:

  1. Have absolute faith in God. David, as a young shepherd boy, overcame his fear and slew the greatest champion of the Philistines – the giant Goliath – with nothing but his God, a sling shot and five smooth stones (I Samuel 17:37-51). This year, we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
  2. Love God’s Law. David is credited with writing more than half of the Psalms (73 of the 150). In Psalm 119, David beautifully chronicles his love for God’s law. We need to embrace that same love and meditate on His law day and night. The Psalm reads: “Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways. You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances. I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.”
  3. Be thankful. David was a great musician and song writer; he penned many great Psalms that expressed his thankfulness to God. One Psalm we should meditate on when things are going good or when we face challenges is Psalm 100: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
  4. Be repentant. David was a big proponent of getting right with God when he wronged God. This is one of David’s most redeeming qualities. His Psalms of contrition and repentance are so descriptive and gut wrenching it causes hairs to stand up on your neck. For example, in Psalm 51: 7-13, David writes: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”

My prayer for FBCJ in 2016 is for us to earn the right to be called (like David in Acts 13:22) a man after mine (God’s) own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. It seems strange for David to earn such a distinction because of what we know about him. He was an adulterer, a murderer and an absentee father, but still God used him. And if God can use David, then we definitely have an opportunity to earn the right to be called a people after God’s heart.

As we kick off 2016, I am asking FBCJ to incorporate the same standards that David had by resolving to develop a heart for God. As we develop our relationship with God, God will assist us in fulfilling our stewardship goals throughout the New Year while enabling us to become good stewards of our lives by eating healthier, exercising, improving our health and managing our weight.

By Pastor Derek V. Gatling



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