JAMES 4:5: “Do you think this passage means nothing? It says, “The Spirit that lives in us wants us to be his own.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I tithing my heart? I never asked this question before, but when I read this verse in James this is the question that comes to my mind. We talk a lot about the tithing, giving 10 percent of our income to the Lord, but we almost never talk about the tithing of our heart. What does it mean to tithe our heart? Is this what the Bible calls us to do?
Ok, you caught me, this is really a trick question. I hope the answer is obvious. We are never called to tithe our heart. We are called to give our heart fully and completely to the Lord. Yet – this is what we often do, whether knowingly or unknowingly. James reminds us in his epistle, the Holy Spirit that has been given to us wants us to be His own! God desires our complete heart, and the world is constantly trying to pull our heart away from this pure and sincere devotion. James writes,
- “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you? You want what you don’t have, so you commit murder. You’re determined to have things, but you can’t get what you want. You quarrel and fight. You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them. When you pray for things, you don’t get them because you want them for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure.” (James 4:1-3 GW)
Wait a minute! I have never committed murder! Yet, I have envied those who have more than me. I have entertained hate in my heart, which according to Jesus is the same as murder. And I have lusted for the things of this world. Yes, I have even tried to use God’s promises to get them. All of this I am not proud of, but in all honesty, all of us have struggled with this to some degree. We must remember that James is not writing this epistle to unbelievers, but to believers.
What we don’t realize is the insidious plan behind all of this. When we become a friend of the world we are dividing our heart and becoming an enemy of God. Jesus said, “You can’t serve God and money (or this world).” Isn’t it ironic that the enemy of our souls tries to convince us that we don’t have to tithe our income, but we can tithe our heart! These are both a deception to try and get us to turn away from the sincere and pure devotion that the Holy Spirit yearns for in our hearts.
When it comes to the heart – God is calling us to give Him 100%!
- “So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters. Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves in the Lord’s presence. Then he will give you a high position.” (James 4:7-10 GW)
Only a completely surrendered heart places themselves under God’s authority. Only an obedient heart resists the devil. Only a repentant heart finds grace. Only a humble heart experiences the mighty hand of God! God wants our heart – fully, completely, and willingly given. When we give this to Him, He gives us everything from His heart. It is not an even exchange, but one that He desires to give us. We give Him our brokenness, He gives us His wholeness. We give Him our sin, He gives us His righteousness. We give Him our fear, He gives us His love!
Wow, when I see it that way, I realize how foolish it is to hold back any part of my heart. This morning I join with David and pray – “Search me, and know me O Lord, and see if there is any wicked way within me…Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me!”
Lord, I want to give You my heart, fully completely, and willingly!
In Jesus Name!