An Undivided Heart

Most athletes understand the concept of “an undivided heart.” It means that if you want to be the best you can be, if you want to fulfill your potential, you have to be uncompromising in your approach to the game. It means focusing on every detail of your preparation and shielding yourself from distractions and behaviors that are detrimental to achieving your objective. To be at the top of your game requires total devotion.

In Psalm 86:11 David prays for God to give him an undivided heart: “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” When he makes this request, he’s not talking about preparing as an athlete or excelling in his profession; he’s talking about something of far greater importance—he’s talking about his relationship with God. He’s talking about his spiritual condition. He’s talking about being right with God, totally devoted to living for him. He’s talking about being prepared to serve God in all the circumstances of his life.

David wanted to fully know God’s ways and totally rely on God’s faithfulness. First and foremost in his life David wanted to be prepared spiritually and he knew that required an undivided heart; an uncompromising commitment to putting God first.

The Apostle Paul shared David’s desire to follow God with an undivided heart, and uses allusions to athletic training in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 to describe his devotion to following Christ. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.”

As Paul admonished Timothy, “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8)

Like an athlete training for the big game, may each of us follow God with an undivided heart.

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church