The Heart of the Matter

We are living in a power point age, so imagine with me that in one 24-hour period you were able to construct a power point that visually displayed everything you did in that time frame.  Were that possible, it would no doubt reveal how you had spent the day, indicating probably where your special interests were, what you spent any leisure time doing, how much TV you watched; time spent in spiritual enrichment (prayer, Bible reading, etc.); how many minutes or hours you spent on social media or on “the screen,” and so much more.  Aren’t you glad that assignment is, as of today, not in the realm of possibility?  Don’t assume that it will never be possible should time last.

Anyway, what is vitally important for each of us to know is that God doesn’t need a power point presentation to view your day or mine at any moment.  He has all knowledge and not a single moment, not an iota of disgust, not a word of thanksgiving, not a special compartment reserved for “self” where we can engage in lustful, covetous, bitter, angry, dark, deadening thoughts, desires, dreams escape Him. God knows it all; He sees it all and the Bible says that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chron. 16:9)

That statement, delivered from God through an Old Testament mouthpiece for God to one of Judah’s kings should give us all “cause for pause.” God is looking, looking, looking. He is out to find a person who has a perfect heart. But wait, before you say “that lets me out; I am NOT perfect and knowing myself I will never be perfect so will never qualify as a person to whom God will shew Himself strong.”

The good news is that “perfect” here and elsewhere in Scripture does not mean “flawless!” Our relationship to Adam sealed the fact that no one of us is perfect in the sense of without any imperfection.  We are all sinners; we are “damaged goods,” by virtue of our humanity; and even the new birth, which results in our becoming instantly a “new creation” in Christ does not mean that our old nature, which is totally corrupted by sin, has been eradicated.  Salvation by grace through faith means that we have now a new nature, with the indwelling Holy Spirit and the enlightening Word of God, and the ability to “walk in the Spirit” so that we now are not bound to “walk in the flesh” (Gal.5:16-18) and we can be all that God wants us to be, i.e., a full grown, mature, Christian who is learning what Jesus meant when He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48).  We ever strive to be like Him, knowing that we will never in our flesh here on earth reach a sinlessness; but we can and will strive to be perfect in the sense that, having desired the sincere milk of the Word (I Pet. 2:1,2) we have grown into spiritual maturity so that we are able to skillfully read and apply God’s Word, discerning between good and evil, right and wrong, and sensing, by His Spirit’s confirmation in our heart, that we have reached some level of spiritual maturing and are pressing on to be even more adept in the use of God’s Word. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

Take heart, dear friend, you can be spiritually mature and a person of whom God would say, “that child of mine has a perfect heart.” Hezekiah, an Old Testament king who had faithfully served God, leading God’s people to spiritual revival, was stunned when Isaiah came to him and told him that he needed to get his house in order for God’s plan was to call him to his eternal home!  Not what this fairly young, spiritually devoted and in every way successful king had expected to hear, causing him to remonstrate, “I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart.” (2 Kings 20:3).  Could we have said the same yesterday had God made it plain to us that we needed to get our house in order? Read Isaiah 38-39 for the rest of that story. 

David, a man after God’s own heart, vowed, “I will behave myself in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” (Ps.101:2) If I am walking before God with a perfect heart, I will be in private what I am in public.  I will conduct myself in a way that will please God even when there is not another human being (Dad, Mom, Pastor, Spouse) to observe what I am doing and how. David was a flawed, broken person in many ways as we read the Biblical account of his life and labors, but he could also say, at least at one time and surely more than one, that he was behaving himself in a perfect way. God commanded it in Deut. 18:13: “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.”  David was given over to obeying God’s commands.

David had no doubt instilled this character trait into young Solomon’s heart who would when he had ascended to Israel’s throne challenge his people, “Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments as at this day.” (I Kings 8:61) A more careful study of the context of this verse will reveal that those whose hearts are perfect will confess that God had never failed to keep one of His promises (v.56); that He would never leave them nor forsake them (v.57) and that He would maintain the cause of His servant and His people at all times (v.59).

Back to Solomon’s father, David, the king. In I Chr. 29:9, after David had instructed the Israelites that it would be his son’s task to build the temple for God, something that David had longed to do; and after David carefully rehearsed how God had instructed him to have it built and then enabled him to give an almost incalculable sum of gold and silver and other precious things that would be required, we read in verse 9 that “Then the people rejoiced, for…with a perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord, and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” Walking with a perfect heart will bring rejoicing not only to you, but to family and friends with whom you associate.  It brings joy!

We need more of that do we not?  Heart felt rejoicing.  The key:  work and worship willingly with a perfect heart.  C.T. Studd, a great missionary servant of Christ in the 19th century, said, “The difficulty is to believe that God can deign to use such scallywags as us, but of course He wants Faith and Fools rather than talents and culture.  All God wants is a heart, any old turnip will do for a head; so long as we are empty, all is well, for then He can fill us with the Holy Ghost.”

A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you….” (Ezek.36:26)

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