Judges 7:3 – Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home. And Gideon tested them; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained. (RSV)
This story of Gideon is quite a familiar passage to me, as I recently taught it in my Sunday School class. But last night the pastor made a comment about verse 3 that really stood out to me: "You notice that God will not allow the half-hearted to be a part of the victory."
God tells Gideon to send those home whose hearts are not in it, and they will not be a part of the victory. How true that is in our lives as Christians. How many times do we go through the motions of our lives with a half-hearted effort, or with fear and trembling, and yet we still expect the victory to be ours?
I myself have been guilty of this at times in preparing my lesson for Sunday morning. I have put a half-hearted effort into the preparation and then been disappointed if the class did not go as well as I would have liked. We allow the most feeble of excuses to get in our way when coming to Sunday School, evening services, visitation, or other areas of service in the church, but we still want to be considered part of things when there is victory to be celebrated or a change to be made. Why is it that we think we can only put half of our hearts and efforts into serving God, yet we would never even think of doing the same in our jobs or careers?
Lent is the time for all of us as Christians to conduct our own heart examinations and determine if our efforts in our walk with God are half-hearted or full-hearted. If we are not giving our full hearts to God, then we can rest in the promise He has made to renew our strength and faith, and call upon Him to fulfill that promise in our lives. God will give us the strength we need to serve Him with our full hearts. We just need to make sure we have the willingness in our hearts.
Prayer: Our dear Saviour and Father, we prayerfully commit our hearts to Your service. We ask that You fill our hearts and spirits with the strength that we need in order to serve You with a full heart, and we will rejoice and praise You when we are part of the resulting victory. Amen.