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It's All About Heart
Remember this song from the 1950s? It spawned off from the heady days of wholesome Hollywood productions and the post-war industrial boom in America. You could do anything if you had the right heart! America, the land of opportunity and expansion for people who didn't give up, who lived honestly! You could say the same for the people who follow God.
There is something about the heart that God really values. 1 Samuel 16;7 states, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For God sees not as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Why the heart? God blesses truth. The heart contains the essence of a person, the real core of a personality, the true nature of a man or a woman. Psalm 51:6 states, "Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom". God promotes the heart. It's just that simple. If you want to be used by God, then your heart needs to be right, not your outward looks or actions.
Jesus even said in the Gospels that many honor him with their lips but their hearts are far from him (Matthew 15:18). 2 Chronicles 16:9 states, "For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely his. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed from now on you will surely have wars." What is God looking for? He is looking for right hearts. He will bless the right heart, not height. Many have chosen the outward path and their personal and public life resemble a battlefield. They have chosen war and turmoil. It's a high price to pay.
As I was having my QT today, the Lord highlighted Romans 2:29, "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter, and his praise is not from men, but from God." God marks his people in the New Covenant not by outward circumcision anymore, but by placing his Spirit into our hearts. Ezekiel 36:26 states, "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." He searches the hearts (Jer 17:10). He searches to see if we make use of this inward circumcision and gift of His Spirit. He watches to see how we live in private, away from the applause of man, the fleeting praise of the masses. It takes faith to live from the heart. God is pleased with our belief (Hebrews 11:6).
The word heart is used 859 times in the Bible. It represents the only thing God looks at. If there is fear, anger, ambition, selfishness, lust, impurity, or any other form of uncleanness, then it is spread out before the Lord like stinky fish drying in the noon day sun. He sees everything (Jer 23:24). He also sees goodness. He saw the heart of David and blessed him. He will bless you.
Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." That's a good prayer. This prayer made David a man after God's own heart. He realized that if left to his own discernment he would not see the blemishes and stains on his inward man (Proverbs 20:9). He needed to have the Holy Spirit to help him.
Paul stated in 1 Timothy 1:5, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." If you are walking in a good conscience, pure heart, and a sincere faith, then you are living well in the Christian faith.
Shakespeare said that all the world is a play, filled with actors, colored by costumes. Prov 27:19 states, "As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man." We cannot hide from God. We cannot hide from man. Our real selves eventually leak out for all to see. The olive press of trials reveals the character of man.
Therefore, we might as well live honestly before God and man now. Yes, it's messy and people will wonder why you are so transparent, but in the end, you will be made whole. It will result in the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Nathanial was a man without guile, not like Jacob the usurper. God thrashed this deceiver in the wilderness and with an MMA trained angel, who took out his hip in a wrestling match and left him with a limp. Ouch! God will spare no expense in getting our hearts right.
So from one sojourner to another, keep persevering in your walk and training with God. He is making you into gold. He likes 100 percent pure grade without any impurities. He's into quality, not quantity.
Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result. That you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4)