Saturday, September 08, 2018

First Things First

An ancient king of Israel once prayed that God would grant to him an undivided heart. He must have felt torn by the many responsibilities of state and the huge family of which he was the head. But King David reasoned that at the heart of the human condition lies the condition of the human heart. He wanted his heart to be undivided, so that in everything he did his faith and commitment to God would be at the forefront of his decision-making.

Recently, I have been thinking so much about the changes that have come about in the Western church of which I am a part. I know the danger of looking backwards where it seems that everything was once so much shinier than it is now, but I suppose that is one of the privileges of growing older. When I first became a Christian in my mid-teens I was a mad keen shootist. My marksmanship took me to the very peak of the sport, competing for Great Britain in Canada and annually at Bisley, the home of international shooting. I was a finalist in the prestigious Queen's prize, and fired competitive air rifles, smallbore and fullbore rifles virtually every day of the week, and I loved it. I loved the competitiveness, the company and most of all the buzz of winning. But once I began to grow in my understanding of what the Christian life would mean for me I had no alternative but to hang up my weapons.

We are what we aim at!
Despite the fact that there were real opportunities to witness for Christ in my sport I felt that I was two timing him and compromising my availability to God. Looking back today I think that I was too hasty in completely turning away from something at which I was obviously very gifted, but my decision was based on my commitment to the gospel. I joined with other young men in a gospel music band called Soul Enterprise which did pretty much what was written on the tin. My life was full with church meetings, prayer groups, band practices, outreach and gigs. I don't regret any of that, and feel that my life was enriched by what I let go.

In this day and age where leisure is king and being a Christian is wrongly presumed to be a lifestyle choice please join me in praying for young believers everywhere, but especially in the West, that we might all ask God to give us an undivided heart. You will know what divides your heart as I know mine, and I pray that these few words may just help you to take a look at your own commitment and ask if anything less than worthy stands in the way of your availability to God.