Wholeheartedly, Not Pure Heartedly

Written by Sara Hayduchok (New Jersey, USA)

Sara is a soccer player in Singapore’s Women’s Premiere League while studying Mandarin full-time. A US-born American, she is passionate about using her gifts and experience to empower Southeast Asian women through sport.

April 18, 2023

I had been praying for months for God to make a way for me.
I had believed that He led me to pursue this new role, but it was so hard to keep going with so many obstacles.
And as the deadline approaches, I am feeling more desperate than ever. 

“God, should I let go or push forward?”

I had tried to re-surrender it to Him, realizing that the desires I felt were partially selfish.
I confessed my pride, my stubbornness and my fear of other people’s judgment.
I reminded myself of the ways that I had set out to honor God with this new role, and I knew that all the same purpose still burn bright within me.

Have you ever been there?
Have you come to God with impure motives?
Have you approached Him with something other than your best? 

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

I have Good News for you.
God invites us to come to Him that way.
He encourages us to seek Him wholeheartedly, not pure heartedly.
He even promises that we will find Him when we do!

What’s the Difference?

The word “all” in this verse comes from the Hebrew word, kōl (כֹּל).
It is distinct from the word “pure,” for example, in Psalm 51:10.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

Many think we must purify ourselves before we come to God.
Yet David, one of the most admired Biblical leaders, recorded His lack of purity by asking God to create a pure heart in him. 

According to the Blue Letter Bible’s Concordance, the Hebrew word for “pure” or “clean” (ṭâôr טָהוֹר), is used 94 times in 17 Old Testament books.
The majority of those instances are found in Exodus and Leviticus referring to the temple instructions (Exo 25:11, Exodus 30:35) or ceremonial cleanliness (Lev 13:17, Lev 20:25).

However, kōl, meaning “all” or “whole” is used 5,417 in all Old Testament books, also according to the Blue Letter Bible’s Concordance.
Like the Word of God, let us emphasize coming to God with whole hearts rather than waiting for it to be purified. 

This word is the same used in Isaiah 37:16 (NIV),

“LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”

Isaiah 37:16 (NIV)

He does not only reign over the holy or purified kingdoms; He reigns above them all!

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

The only requisite given here for God’s blessings is waiting for Him.
All who look to Him will be blessed. 

But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him.

Genesis 8:9 (ESV)

The floodwaters covered the whole of the Earth.
From the beautiful to the ugly, God consumed it all.
Just like God wants to consume our whole heart.
In time, He will purify us.
We need only to seek Him. 

You Will Find Him

In the end, God undoubtedly went before me and made a way for me.
After accepting and confessing my mixed intentions, I felt freer to pursue what I wanted, knowing that I was seeking His help with full transparency.

The beauty of Jeremiah 29:13 came to life.
God answered my prayers.
I was approved, started my role, and wholeheartedly thanked God (with my selfishness and all).
Praise Him for His power, grace and love!

Prayer and Reflection

  • In what areas have you been fighting in your own strength? 
  • What sinful intentions may be mixed with your holy intentions in your most prioritized pursuits?
  • Where can you forgive others’ ugly intentions if God accepts our whole hearts? 

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