We all know what we want and desire in this life, but what is it that God wants, desires and requires of us? Deuteronomy 6:5 says “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” So what does it mean to condition your heart for God?
Condition means “to train or accustom (someone or something) to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances” and “to bring something into the desired state for use.”
We are all born into the world with a heart conditioned for the things of this world. If it were not so, there wouldn’t be a need for Jesus. I didn’t quite understand this growing up, considering the path and lifestyle I chose. I was into doing what I wanted and I was oftentimes disobedient to my parents. My mom would tell me not to do something and I would do it anyway. I was rebellious. God’s Word tells us to “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) [Ephesians 6:2]. So mainly everything I did stemmed from a heart conditioned for the world. A heart conditioned to disrespect and rebel. If we go back to the Garden of Eden, we will see how perfect everything was. God created Adam and Eve to have communion and fellowship with Him. Everything was in complete harmony. They were obedient, doing all that God desired of them. It wasn’t until Satan deceived Eve and that perfect communion and fellowship in the Garden was no more. The enemy wants us to disobey God and follow the ways of the world. But God wants the complete opposite. He desires for us to walk with Him, following His path which leads to eternal life. Following Satan’s path leads to death and destruction. So we have to be very careful that our hearts are conditioned for God and what He desires and not the things of this world. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” In order to follow the path that leads to life, we have to train our hearts for God.
In my early twenties, that’s when I realized the condition that my heart was in. While attending a bible study for the first time in the city I lived in, my life changed. The pastor told me about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross, and with a broken heart and tears in my eyes, I accepted this invitation for a new life. I realized the mess that my life was in and how I was so far away from God. I was living in sin and on the way to hell. Aren’t you glad that God saw our need for salvation before we were born? Even when He wasn’t on our minds, we were on His. Even when we were satisfying the desires of our flesh, His saw our greatest need—His love. Romans 5:8 brings so much comfort in that it says “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Isn’t that amazing? God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place just so that we could be free and have fellowship with Him and live the life he predestined for us to live. A life in harmony and obedience with Him, with love as the foundation.
The mistakes I made after receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior brought forth conviction, and some days I would cry profusely. The feeling I felt knowing I did something that was totally contrary to the Word of God made me feel so bad, disgusted and highly disappointed in myself. I would cry because I knew my action(s) were displeasing to God and they broke His heart. Before receiving Jesus, there was no conviction and I could continue doing what I wanted without the feeling that what I was doing was wrong. I am still learning to constantly keep my focus on the things that please God, because if not, I could be drawn back down the wrong path. Colossians 3:2-3 says “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” This means that our priorities and actions should be a product of a heavenly perspective. Our hearts and mind should be in alignment with God and what He desires.
Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord comes with continued work as a believer. We have to constantly stay alert and make sure we are staying connected to God and doing as He desires of us. We are to “mortify our members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossian 3:5).
How do we condition our hearts for God?
- Make the choice! When it comes to conditioning our hearts for God, we have to first make the choice. We have to choose whether we are going to follow God or if we are going to follow the world. We can’t do both. James 1:8 says “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” In addition to that, we see in Matthew 6:24 that “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve God and mammom.” We have to make a choice.
- Be reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice. Know that Jesus died so that you can live an abundant life. If you are an unbeliever, this invitation is open to you as well. God wants you to draw close to Him. You can take the first step by accepting His Son Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. You can begin there and start building the relationship.
- Check your heart. What is its current condition? What are the intentions of your heart? Is it broken, anxious, envious, jealous, etc.? Ask God to show you any areas or things that need to be addressed. David said in Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
- Stay in the Word. The Word renews our minds and also gives light to the path that we are to take. Romans 12:2 tells us “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). In order to keep our affection on the things above, we have to read the Word of God daily to make sure the Word is truly planted in our hearts.
- Be a doer of the Word. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22). You can’t train if you don’t put the work in.
- Be in constant communion with God. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
God desires for us to choose life and to accept the sacrifice of His Son Jesus that brings us into right standing with Him. He desires for us to have a heart conditioned for Him and not the things of the world. The world will fade away and all its pleasures. With our hearts set on God we can receive what the world can’t give us—eternal life. Will you start the process of conditioning your heart for God, refraining from things that displease Him? If you’ve already initiated the process, will you continue examining yourself, praying without ceasing, staying steadfast in the Word, not only hearing the Word but applying it? God desires our whole heart! Will you start today and continue today?
Prayer: “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11).