How to Finish Well

King David 3

In spite of his failures, David remained a wholehearted lover of God

The heart journey, heart surgery, and heart mapping

When I get to the end of my life I want to be able to say, “God, at least I tried to follow your mandate for my life. At least I was on that track. At least I was beginning to say, if this is what I’m supposed to be about, then I probably shouldn’t be doing this.”

There starts to become a mechanism in my life for living by God’s two-part mandate. As we do that, as we really begin to embrace that–and I think most of us start with the source material–pretty soon we start in on this heart journey.

Something begins to happen in your heart. God begins to address the limitations inside. It’s not just a cognitive lesson in your brain. There’s something going on in the inside, and you enter into a whole new study of what it means to obey and to experience what God really wants.

That’s what the heart journey, heart surgery, and heart mapping is all about.

David’s Heart Work

King David 2

What made David such a wholehearted lover of God?

The unfinished work for most of us: Finding the resource in our heart to love God first and wholeheartedly

David was the exact opposite of most of us. Most of us have a fairly good handle on the written source material. You can quote the external source material. You can see the legal arguments for obeying God, but the heart work, the interior compass is really the unfinished work for most of us.

David’s life, his passion, and even God’s desire to be with David, are a tremendous encouragement for us to take a really hard look at what it means to be about the things that are important to God.

  • “Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:10
  • “Help me to number my days that I may present to you a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 39:4

David’s Example: A true lover of God

King David was a worshiper and lover of God

King David was a worshiper and lover of God

“But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

If we look at the Old Testament, this is a fascinating observation: God picked one man in the Old Testament that symbolized what he wanted in someone, if you will, who fulfilled the mandate to be a lover.

His name was David, the consummate lover of the Old Testament.

Over, and over, and over, in all of the prophets, and the Psalms, and in David’s writings themselves, and then again in the New Testament, David is exalted as this man after God’s own heart.

And if you look at David’s life, he had this mandate to be a lover and the way he expressed it in his life was so intuitive. He did things that other people didn’t do.

The problem was, some of the times he didn’t look at the other source material. David was such a heart guy he forgot there was other source material and it got him in trouble. People died because he didn’t follow the written source material.

In spite of all of that, God never seemed to lose his fascination with David. Why? Because there was a heart connection between God and David. Somewhere in David’s journey his heart began to be activated in a way that connected him with God.


The Heart Mandate

heart nebula

The famous “Heart Nebula”

Like Abraham Lincoln, we need two sources–the written and the internal. This may sound “new,” but it’s actually as old as Moses, David, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other Old Testament prophets.

In Deuteronomy, Moses preaches his last sermon. In it, he exhorts God’s people to keep God’s commandments “in your heart” (6:6). He’s speaking of a connection between the inner source material and the outer (legal) source material.

We have to have both sources, not just one. Yet how often we  forget the second source. In Scripture, however, God repeatedly points to both. In fact, He makes a big deal about the condition of our heart, where His Spirit can instruct and lead us.

This reality gets even more emphatic in Jeremiah 31:31-34 when the prophet describes the New Covenant. He describes the work of Jesus by saying that God is going to do something to resource this mandate. It’s something new. This is what it is, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”

We see this yet again in Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26, which says, “I will take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Our heart mandate brings the two sources together. It’s how God designed us to operate. We have the written source material. And we have an interior resourcing. Both are promised and prophesied in the Old Testament prophets.

Other verses to read and ponder:

  • 1 Samuel 13:14 (about David)
  • Mark 12:30 (by Jesus)
  • Ephesians 3:17 (by Paul)