Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
I was recently reminded of the necessity for an undivided heart. Last weekend, while in slow traffic on the Interstate, I saw a pickup truck with a variety of messages that provided an example of a divided heart. The truck had both a Christian fish emblem and a bumper sticker critical of the President, spelling the word “moron” with his campaign logo replacing each “o.” When we divide our heart in an attempt to keep one foot in Christian values and the other espousing worldly beliefs we run headlong into Jesus’ teaching that says we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). And with such a divided heart, instead of revering God’s name, we instead make a mockery of it.
When we are so immersed in our culture, it becomes hard to hear the whisper of the Spirit calling us to live lives that become the gospel. I believe that without silence and solitude, it is not possible to have an undivided, focused heart.
Abba Moses, a Desert Father, said, ‘One who avoids others is like a ripe grape. One who stays in company is like a sour grape.’ Without regular times of silence and solitude, where we can really listen to God, we end up parroting the voices of the company we keep, the frequently contentious and distracting voices of our culture. And if that is all we hear, we may not even be aware of how sour we’ve become.
A friend once gave up listening to the radio for Lent. Because he spends much of the day in the car, giving up radio meant a lot of quiet. After Lent, he commented that a radio show he used to enjoy had gotten more harsh and critical. I think that what happened was that the silence made my friend’s heart more tender. The radio show had not changed, but my friend had. Silence has a way of healing the divided heart.