Wholeheartedness - Week 2 - “Splintered” Hearts

Last week we laid the biblical foundation for wholehearted living. God is inviting us to live "tom" lives, of integrity, goodness, health, and wholeness. The process is simple--love God with our whole heart, and love others as a reflection of his goodness and character. Do this constantly, daily. Live with an awareness of God's goodness all around, fulfilling his mandate to fill the earth with good things. In a word, "wholeheartedness" is about connection. Connection to God, reflected in our connection to the world around us.
But something went wrong. Sin entered the world. Sin, in a word, is about disconnection. Disconnection from God that results in unhealthy connections to the world around us.
Sin is a condition of our entire reality—body, soul, and spirit. And if that weren’t enough, the cumulative effects of sin on our hearts and the hearts of others further our decent into disconnection.
The next step in our journey toward wholeheartedness, is about acknowledging this reality.

First Steps

Start this time of study with prayer, whether you’re studying alone or with a group. Ask God to step into this time and bring about wisdom and understanding. Later in the study you’ll have a time to offer specific prayer and praise, but turn first to God before turning to his Word.

Then start with these questions:

  • Can you think of a time when you felt relief over a secret that was exposed? Perhaps you were embarrassed over something you did, but when the secret was out, it wasn’t nearly as scary as you expected. You might have even felt relief that the secret was out.

  • Splinters rarely cause serious impairment, but they can be very annoying. How do minor physical wounds keep us from fully engaging life? What about spiritual wounds?

What Does the Scripture Say

Genesis 3:1-13 (NIV)
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

1John 2:16-17 (NIV)
16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Read Psalm 15 (NIV)
A psalm of David.

1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Acts 13:22 (NIV)
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Psalm 34:1&18 (NIV)
Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.…
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

(We’ll explore this psalm more later this week. For now, just consider the fact that this psalm exists, and the heart of its theme in vs 18.)

Psalm 51 (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba….

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

(We’ll explore this psalm more later this week. For now, just consider the fact that this psalm exists, and the heart of its theme in vs vs 1.)

1Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 

Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

  • Genesis 3 records the first invitation to seek something desirable apart from a connection to God. In essence, the man and woman were being tempted to know (or define) good and evil on their own, rather than depending on God to teach them what it means to be a reflection of his good image. 
    How did the man and woman respond after giving into this temptation? 
    How did they respond when God came looking for them in the "cool of the day"?
    How did the man respond when confronted with the reality of his own sin? 

  • How does John categorize temptation, in 1John 2:16-17. How do you see these temptations reflected in Genesis 3:5-7? 

  • Where do these temptations come from, according to John? What is the fate of these temptations? 

  • Guilt is what we experience when we sin against someone else. Hurt is what we experience when someone sins against us. Reflecting again on Psalm 15, what's one way that you have experienced hurt from someone who did the opposite of the things listed in vs 2-5?

  • When have you felt guilt after doing the opposite of one of the things listed in this same passage?

  • Psalm 34 was written by David after a lifetime of being misjudged, during a season of extreme dislocation and persecution by Saul, who he served and attempted to please. What is David's convictions about God's care for those who who are hurt by the sinful actions of others? 

  • What does the existence of Psalm 34, a song that was to be sung among the Hebrew people, tell us about David's willingness to confess his hurt to others? 

  • Psalm 51 was written by David after being confronted with his own egregious sin. Not only did he commit Adultery with another man's wife, he got that woman pregnant. After doing so, he tried to deceive the man. When that didn't work, he secretly had him killed in battle. The prophet Nathan then told David a story about someone else who did something similar. When David reacted intensely to a story of someone else's guilt; Nathan told him that he'd done that very thing to Uriah. You can read about these events in 2Samuel 2:11-12. 

  • What truth about God's character does David cling to in this Psalm (see vs 1)?

  • What does the existence of Psalm 51 tell us about David's willingness to confess his guilt to others?

  • What is "godly sorrow"? What does it lead to, according to 1Corinthians 7:10?

  • What is the Bible's testimony about the reality of sin in the world, according to Romans 3:23? 

  • What did God bring about through Jesus, according to Romans 3:24? 

How Can You Apply God's Word?

Take some time to reflect on how this week’s scriptures have affected your life. Focus especially on practical steps you can take to live out what you’ve learned.

  • Why is it hard to be honest about the reality of our own guilt?
    What about the reality of our own hurt?

  • How have the temptations mentioned in John 2:16-17 led to sin in your own life? 

  • What's one area of guilt that God may be inviting you to be honest about?

  • What about an area of hurt?
    (You may share these answers with your group or journal about them, if you're able. If not, simply make a note of them and confess them to God in prayer, for now)

  • Why is it important to remind ourselves of the truth of God's character as we process these things?  

  • How does it encourage your heart to hear that God, motivated by grace, freely offers justification (he freely makes us right with himself) through the redemption that Jesus accomplished for us?

  • Who in your life, is able to help you be honest about your own guilt and/or hurt? 

Next Steps

Psalm 103 reminds us that God is compassionate and sees the our experience of sin and brokenness in the world. Read Psalm 103:9-28. Invite God to help you to respond compassionately to the weight of guilt and hurt that burden the people around you. 

Read Psalm 34
Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.

1 I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.


  • According to verse 4, how did David respond in this season of hurt?

  • According to verse 5, what is the result of honesty with God, during seasons of hurt?


Read Palm 51 (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.


  • What does David invite God to do for his heart, according to vs 10-12?

  • How does God respond to our confession and repentance, according to vs 17?

What do you need to give God thanks for? What do you need from him this week? Conclude with a time of prayer, inviting God to help you to bravely continue this journey toward wholeheartedness. 

Consider making this prayer from Psalm 86, a regular part of your prayer life throughout this journey:

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths.

-- Psalm 86:11-13 (ESV)

Unite Our Hearts, O God!