Reformations on the outside don’t always equal change on the inside. It has been proven time and again throughout history, and even throughout the Bible. A great leader can rise up and make the necessary plans and put programs into place that should foster positive growth in a specified area. But, if those toward whom the program was geared to serve don’t have a true heart for change, then what we see is a lot of outer stuff being switched around without any real inner transformation taking place.
Jehoshaphat was such a leader. Jehoshaphat reinvigorated the spirit of worship toward God once more for the people of Judah. He, himself, “sought the God of his fathers, and walked in His commandments,” (2 Chronicles 17:4, NKJV). And as such, he was compelled to make the “Book of the Law” available to anyone who would hear. So he sent leaders throughout the region to teach God’s Word (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).
Another area of reformation that saw positive changes was with the judges. Men who judge honestly and not take bribes. Men who would “act in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and with a loyal heart,” (2 Chronicles 19:9, NKJV).
After many ups and downs during his reign, and even a miraculous victory that was won just through praise (2 Chronicles 20), when it came time for Jehoshaphat’s reign to end and he was noted as “doing what was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:32, NKJV)), the very next verse tells us the status of the people. “Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not directed their hearts to the God of their fathers,” (2 Chronicles 20:33, NKJV).
Leaders are just that – leaders. They can go out in front of the pack and try to lay the course for the best plan of action but it is up to the individual to let the compass of his/her heart to be guided in the right direction. There is a personal responsibility to have a purposeful heart that will intentionally pursue one’s own relationship with God.
How we get on in our relationship with God cannot be put off on another. We can’t shun the charge to follow wholeheartedly after Him and claim that it’s the fault of others for why we didn’t follow through.
The reason for the lack of follow-through lies literally at the center of one’s heart. A heart that is not fully devoted to God is a heart that won’t be inclined to continue to live for Him when those people who bring that positive influence are no longer in our lives. We have to want God for ourselves. Our hearts have to be intentional in our daily living for Him.
How do we do that? What does that look like?
A purposeful heart will diligently seek after God. Seek Him through prayer. Seek Him in the Word. Seek Him in times of worship. A heart that loves the Lord will want to know more about Him and these avenues can help turn one in the right direction. The psalmist said, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Psalm 119:10-11).
“I sought thee . . .”
“I hid” the word in my heart . . .
“I” denotes it is one’s personal obligation to charter the course of their own heart; to fill it with the purpose of God; to choose “the way of truth,” (Psalm 119:30).
Leaders can lead but we must make it up in our own minds and hearts to want all of Him as our own. We must have a purposeful heart that steps closer to Him and not turns away (Proverbs 4:26-27).
David, a man after God’s own heart, became knowns as such because his desire, his goal, the purpose of his own heart was totally for God. He is quoted as saying, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple,” (Psalm 27:4). All the days of his life he wanted his heart directed toward God.
Purposing the heart is being intentional in going after God for one’s self. Nobody else can do it for you.