Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
As I read the Bible each year, I pray that each day, there is something that strikes me, resonates with me, causes me to reflect, or guides me through my daily life. I end up with something to ponder and/or respond to on most days.
Yesterday, I thought about what it means to set one’s mind on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Setting one’s mind on something is an intentional act. I do not believe you can go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem by mistake, or inadvertently. The road is not always an easy road and our natural inclination is to go in the other direction. Setting the mind on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem seems to me to have an element of commitment to make Godly choices whenever we are presented options (which is many times per day). In other words, when we are presented with relational choices, financial choices, major decisions, minor decisions, etc., we seek to make the right choice – that is, the choice that God would have us make. How we respond to choices is often an indication of how we have grown spiritually.
So, I have this idea that having my mind set on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem would require an almost drivenness and dogged determination; a complete focus on the end goal. I know that the climb is rarely if ever completed in a straight line. For me, it is almost like a pinball machine…..the ball goes up, then comes down, goes up a little further, then comes down again – until it either goes in a “winning” spot, or comes down and slips through the cracks. I have setbacks.
Today’s excerpt from Psalm 86 is intriguing to me in particular for the psalmist’s request for an undivided heart – this concept is similar in my view, or related at least, to having a mind set on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. But something that is interesting is that according to these readings anyways, WE set the mind, but GOD deals with the heart. We can determine to do something, but our hearts seem to be a bit wayward at times. Anyone ever fail a diet? Or fail to follow through on a New Year’s resolution? Or fail to quit smoking, drinking, buying, etc.?
I think these psalmists have a point. We can set our minds, but need an undivided heart to do the right things – and that comes directly from God.