What Makes a Heart Right?
Wendy Pope

"Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! Psalm 32:11 (NIV)

As I read today's key verse, I am so thankful I can rejoice in the Lord and be glad. I am able to sing because my heart is upright. But I have to tell you, this upright heart was pretty downtrodden a few months ago. Have you ever been there, in a place of oppression so heavy your bones ached and you felt as though your energy had been sapped by the summer sun?

It started about this time last year, in the months leading up to our annual She Speaks conference for aspiring or established Christian speakers and writers. Our staff felt the Lord's leading to fast before the conference. Many fasted lunch each Tuesday, while others followed the Lord in obedience by fasting something else. I participated in the lunch fast but confess today to disobeying the Lord when He asked me to fast something else.

This was something I loved. Maybe, too much. It was something that brought me great pleasure. It put a smile on my face. It was…Dr. Pepper! Yes, the Lord asked me to give up Dr. Pepper in obedience to Him and I said no. I chose to live in rebellion to the Lord I claimed to love and continued drinking the soda. It was at this point my relationship with the Lord started to suffer.

The Lord did not abandon me during my rebellion, nor did He stop using me in His kingdom, which made me believe I was "getting away" with my rebellion. I was still speaking, writing, and leading my online Bible study. It appeared that I had my cake, well in this case Dr. Pepper, and was "eating it too."

Shortly after the conference my spirit became restless. I experienced sleepless nights that lead to draining days. My body and spirit became weak. It became more and more difficult to purchase Dr. Pepper. I knew I was in rebellion but chose to compromise instead of confess. When I ordered Dr. Pepper I would order a small and not get refills. When the grocery store had a buy-one-get-one-free special, I would only purchase one twelve pack. I was becoming a master at the "obedience clause" … obeying my way. This went on for months.

David wrote about the cause and effect of living in sin in Psalm 32:3-4, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer" (NIV).

These verses haunted me. There was the truth of my life in black and white. Fortunately in verse 5 David tells us what to do when the symptoms of rebellion become realities in our lives. "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD —and you forgave the guilt of my sin'" (NIV).

So, why am I able to today? Last December I acknowledged my sin to God and stopped covering my iniquity. In addition to my confession and repentance I finally obeyed what God had asked me to do months before, I stopped drinking Dr. Pepper. My strength has been restored and my bones no longer ache. My posture is upright and I'm confident because I am walking in obedience. Will I ever drink Dr. Pepper again? That is a question only the Lord can answer; but until He gives the answer, I want the posture of my heart to be upright, singing along the way.

What is the posture of your heart today? Is it up upright or downtrodden? Read Psalm 32 and follow God's instructions. I promise the results will be uplifting!

Dear Lord, thank You for inspiring David to write this amazing message. Help me to live the truths of Your Word so I can rejoice and be glad in my relationship with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
More encouragement can be found at Hearing God

Out of the Mouths of Babes by Wendy Pope

Living Free in Christ: Experiencing Life as it was Meant to be (CD) by Wendy Pope

Visit Wendy’s blog

A Perfect Mess: Why You Don't Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for God by Lisa Harper

Application Steps:
Read Psalm 32. Pray through the scripture, asking God to reveal any sin you have not acknowledged.

How do I respond when God asks me to do something?

Why is obeying God difficult for me?

Power Verses:
Psalm 32:1, "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." (NIV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

© 2010 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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Blogger KARUNIA said...

Walking with Him everyday is great moment we have as His promise in all the verses He gave. Yes, we are still human but the lead upon us is right. Got many times in failure and sin but at that moment He use to remind,guarding by The Holy Spirit in our heart. Many times when I got failure to obey.. got no peace, depress and felt how stupid I'm.. so at that time too..I can't wait to confess Him all I did. Asking Him to renew my heart and keep me away from the temptation... I long to have a pure relation with Him all the day so I Thankful that His Scripture always in my heart to make it real... Being a student everyday in "His Class".. need more action... Just by His Grace The Biggest I have...
Thanks :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so wonderful to be in a right relationship with Him and be happy than to hold on to what we want. Amen!

This is such a great example of how personal and in touch our God is with each of us- and how he asks different things of different people - thanks for sharing!

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

Thank you for being so honest with all of us. I'm facing a similar obedience issue with my weight. God has told me what to do, but it's getting tough. Thank you for this reminder to be obedient. The blessings are far beyond what I give up. God is faithful!

Blogger Joan Davis (Jo) said...

Last night before I went to sleep I prayed that I would have the strength to stay away from the candy dish at work. (Everytime I walk by it I grab some!) So, it was pretty interesting to read your post this morning. Thank you for sharing! I seem to have no willpower when it comes to sweets and tend to eat them in excess. They taste great, but then leave me with a heavy feeling (both in my stomach and emotionally). Your post has encouraged me to look to God for my strength to avoid the temptation of the candy that I know isn't good for me.

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

I too am feeling downtrodden and weary. I need help finding what is keeping me from God's glory. We are in the process of putting a personal and financial nightmare behind us and trying to rebuild, but it keeps creeping back in every once in a while. We left everything we had and moved to start over and I just need the nightmare to be over. I just need God to give me peace and lead me through the end of this nightmare.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the messages in this site seeking uplifting experiences shared by the writers or thirsting for a word of encouragement at difficult times. I COMPLETELY FAIL TO SEE THE GREAT SACRIFICE OF GIVING UP A SOFT DRINK. It saddens me to see how SPOILED we all are. We should strive to look beyond the insignificant and meaningless wants of our bodies and minds.

Blogger Bethany said...

Though Dr. Pepper may seem to be a silly thing that is keeping someone from a right relationship with God, I think that it is synonymous for so many things. I know with me during this difficult transition in my life, I am tempted to get side-tracked and read celebrity gossip on websites. As silly as that is, it is really me comparing my life with others - which I know God keeps telling me to stop doing. Celebrities just happen to have their problems magnified - which all the $ in the world wouldn't have me do. Everyone of us has struggles, whether small or big at this stage of our life...but each struggle is significant to each person. God Bless & Thank you for not being predictable :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your article hit a couple of nerves in me. First, I’ve been wondering about giving up sweets (not sugar itself but desserts, cookies, etc.) and the jury is still out. Second and much more importantly, though, is this nagging question (which is much bigger than any fasting question)…how do I know if God is asking me to do something or if it’s just a thought of mine? I struggle with this question constantly. Do you have any ideas for me?

Blogger Wendy Pope said...

You asked a great question. I personally believe that if I am putting something in my body that is not good for me (i.e. soft drink, sweets, alcohol, etc) and sense in my mind and spirit to stop partaking, it can't be wrong
Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, His dwelling place and to eat healthy, exercise, and care for ourselves, mentally, physically, and emotionally is our responsibility. Common sense really is often "God sense."
Do I do this correctly every day of my life? NO. But I try and ask God to help me. This keeps my in a daily dependent relationship with Jesus Christ.
Hope this helps-thank you for leaving a comment today.

Blogger Cindy said...

I think God is trying to save your life physically. Who knows what we can accomplish when we give up the unhealthy in our lives ... Spiritually, physically and mentally.

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit ... so cigarettes, too much alcohol and abusive drugs aren't the only things we should avoid.

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Wendy, I love your devotion today. I read it 2 weeks ago in the devo editorial phase and God really spoke to me through it, challenging me to give up facebook, blogging and all internet connectedness during Spring Break. I shouldn't even be here on this blog but He gave me permission to come and thank you since the devotion was in my inbox this morning and He spoke to me through it again - reminding me of His desire for complete obedience in every area.

I love your honesty and willingness to let us see the secret places that could easily be kept between you and Him. I for one was very blessed again today when I read it for the second time. He's teaching me that if I He's LORD at all, then I must live as if He is LORD of all and over all!! Not easy but very true. Giving HIM all of me today!

Love you girl!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I related....thank you!

Blogger Jennydb said...

I thought it was interesting you said, "my bones no longer ache" after you stopped drinking pop, because there is an ingredient in all colas (even Hansens!) called sodium phosphate that leeches calcium from your bones and can cause osteoporosis. One more bad ingredient in a list of bad ingredients.

Blogger Cindy Williams said...

Thank you for your openess. I have been strugling as well. I cried out to the Lord today to set me free from myself & the sin that so easily besets me. It is the little things ("foxes") that spoil our right standing. I came on this site to refill and prepare my heart for His coming we do not know when that will be. I Am encouraged to press in despite my circumstances which I have used as an excuse to draw back from others encluding my relationship with tle Lord. I too have been in rebellion for quite a while. God knows how to get our attention. Thank you for letting him use you. God bless, Cynthia

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