"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them." –Jeremiah 32:39 (NIV)
It seems as though our culture is filled with hook-ups and break-ups (swipe left, swipe right). The demonized message that whispers, “You can’t be somebody unless you’re with somebody” seems to saturate society. It's like singleness is a synonym for loneliness, emptiness, and the pursuant search of a person to fulfill us.
God’s Truth to us is counter-culture. In Jeremiah 32:39 it says, "I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them." Jesus desires that we have a singleness of heart – meaning, a heart that is clean and devoted solely to Him. He doesn't want us to be distracted by the fleeting pleasures of this world, but instead, fear Him and allow that heart to transform into action (cue the recent James study about being doers and not just hearers of the Word!).
What does it mean to fear God? One of the definitions of fear from our focal verse is, “to stand in awe of…” (Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon). God desires that our hearts stand in awe of Him because He is the ultimate and perfect standard. We have many unspoken standards in life that we delegate to others. You know, when your expectation was for that person to do _______, but you never bothered to communicate that expectation with them? Those are unspoken standards, and they're also unhealthy for relationships. However, we can trust that the Lord is the true standard and He's abundantly clear about His desire for us: I want you to have a single heart.
How do we learn to fear God and develop a singleness of heart?
- Commit to thankfulness. Be intentional and genuine in thanking the Lord for what He has provided you with. Shelter, family and friends, food on the table, a job, or that front row parking spot at Target. God is good all the time, but we don't thank Him all the time, do we? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to "be thankful in all circumstances," and that takes practice!
- Ask. Ask God to create in you a clean heart, just as David did in Psalm 51:10. There is nothing more refreshing than being rinsed in the powerful love of God. We all need to cut out the gristle in our lives by confessing our sins and allowing the Lord to tenderize us through His mercies. Ask Him to reveal to you areas in your life where you need a singleness of heart. We can become so easily distracted, worried, ungrateful, and prideful – but God is ready to bestow His love upon us and correct our wayward path.