Halfhearted Attempt at a Wholehearted Call

“Wow – you’re really committed to God,” I’ve heard people say to me (indicating it’s too much for my own good) or, “That seems to work for you and makes you happy, but it would never work for me.”

Well, my question is “Am I abnormally committed to following God or was life designed to work best this way?” Does a halfhearted pursuit really yield lasting results?

We generally root for wholehearted attempts in things like sports or the arts or even in business because we see immediate results, but we give, at best, a halfhearted nod to our Creator and yet expect miraculous results when we want them.

I can tell you from past experience that the halfhearted or cafeteria-style pursuit (pick and choose what I felt like believing) was a failure and the no-hearted pursuit was empty.

Let’s assume the original design for a successful and satisfying personal relationship with God isn’t flawed. Where might flaws enter in?

Imagine if I bought a piece of IKEA furniture. It comes with a brief manual of how to put it together along with all of the right pieces. The idea of a manual is that it gives the steps to take to put the pieces together correctly and ensures the proper result if you follow what it says. But, in the interest of time and the desire to conquer the assembly with no help from IKEA, I halfheartedly glance at the manual and then toss it aside.

I may end up with something that is similar to the manufacturer’s design and look good from a distance, but will it last? I may not be aware that I missed a very important step which leaves my furniture vulnerable to falling apart sooner than it should. I may miss putting together a cool, hidden feature and, thus, would never know what it was really designed to do. I may have put the back panel on the front or upside down and have to take it apart and start all over. To make matters worse, I may invite my friends over to see the great new piece of IKEA furniture I assembled. They lean on it and it breaks...yet I don’t admit I didn’t follow the manual. Do you think they’d want to rush out and buy one for themselves?

Be honest, when the end product isn’t what we expected, who do we tend to blame?

Yep – IKEA for producing bad instructions or, in the spiritual realm, God for having unreasonable expectations and a flawed design.

God was pretty clear about His expectations long before Christianity even existed. He recorded what He wanted us to know through the collection books we now call the Holy Bible, meticulously selected for their authenticity.

Joshua 22:5 “But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

This looks like a wholehearted challenge to me. Halfhearted pursuers need not apply –that is – if you want success. What I left out from this context (you can read yourself) is that God promised to care for their needs as a result. It wasn’t a dictatorial command “just because.”

There are commands all over Scripture. God wouldn’t be very just, faithful or trustworthy (which He claims to be) if following His commands produced something other than what He promised. Further, His reputation would be in jeopardy if He promised things He couldn’t deliver.

What if God’s overall marketing campaign was to work with us to produce His character in our lives, which, in turn, shows that His intended design is actually powerful, effective and BEST for us (here and in the future)? Would anyone like to take me up on the challenge to prove to me legitimately that it’s not?

Then, are you living successfully as the Manufacturer’s poster child? Would the Manufacturer agree with your assessment? If not, why? Have you read the manual?

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

It works.