Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

Here’s an easy question, “Do you love God?” Seems simple enough at first, I’m guessing you probably didn’t even hesitate in your answer. But, when you dig a little deeper, you find that it’s really a loaded question; one that can’t be answered so easily. Here’s what that question is really asking: “When someone offends you, do you overlook the offense?” “When you’ve just lost your job, do you trust God to provide all that you will need?” “When your spouse lashes out at you, is your response through a gentle and quiet spirit?” “Do you set God’s desires for your life above your own?” “When your world seems to be falling apart at the seams, do you praise God in the midst of the pain and suffering?” Now, those questions aren’t so easy, yet they are equivalent to the question, “Do you love God?”

Too often, we see life’s circumstances just for what they are on the surface. But, if we look underneath it all, we find that there’s much more to it. God is using all things to search hearts and find someone who will make their heart completely His. (2 Chronicles 16:9) God created us for Himself, and until we pursue His heart, we will never experience the desires of our own.

One of the most exciting Promises of God that many cling to is Psalm 37:4 (NIV),

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Sounds like a promise worth meditating on and clinging to, doesn’t it? But, we tend to leave out the verse before it:

“Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; . . .
Psalm 37:3(AMP)

If you love God, then you trust God; you’re confident in Him. When Jesus returned to the Disciples after his resurrection, He asked Peter who had denied Him three times, “Do you love Me?” And He had to ask it three times. (How many times in a day does He have to ask us that same question?) After each time that Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love you,” Jesus gave him a command to obey, in order to prove His love. Our actions always reflect what’s in our heart (Luke 6:45). So, the answer to the seemingly simple question, “Do you love Me?”  . . . brings with it a burden of proof. When God asks us if we want the desires of our heart, He tells us to trust Him; when we do, when we trust Him . . . it’s proof that we love Him and that our heart is His. A heart that trusts Him pursues His heart relentlessly.

You see, the heart of the matter is the heart. And God has a heart that is waiting to be grasped. If your heart is His, if you love Him, then you are deeply sensitive to all that concerns Him. It means that there is nothing in your life that is off limits to His correction and guiding direction. What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him burdens you. When He says wait, you wait. When He says move, you move. When you’ve done wrong, you submit to His correction. All the trials you face are part of His plan, to develop your character, to capture your heart. And God is not deceived. He knows the motivations behind your thoughts and actions.

“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

God sees your heart when no one’s looking. And the heart is deceitful. (Jeremiah 17:9) To pursue the heart of God, to acquire the desires of your heart, you must start by asking God to search you.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
Psalm 139:23 (NLT)

You might be surprised at what He finds and what He reveals. Once He has shown you what lies within your heart, cry out to Him, “Create in me a clean heart O God.” (Psalm 51:10) And then watch Him go to work. As you pursue His heart, and as He begins to “clean house,” what happens next is best described in a parable by George MacDonald:

“Imagine yourself living in a house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making court–yards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

What you’ll find is that as you seek God’s heart, you’ll discover your own. And as you struggle to find hope when all hope in your life seems gone, you’ll finally get to the heart of the matter: You’ll discover a God who simply loves you and is using every obstacle as an opportunity to draw you nearer to Him.
His only desire is that your heart is His.
It’s ALL about your heart.

(photo courtesy of photobucket)


ceemee said...

Thank you for this, Cherie. My heart needs some cleaning, I believe.

Unknown said...

Wonderful post, Cherie! I added a comment yesterday, but it must have been eaten by Blogger! Hate it when that happens! Thanks for the reminder that it IS all about our heart.

*Wanted to let you know I've presented you with an award over @ Life Lessons! Stop by when you get a chance! God bless!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

We throw the word "Love" around so easily and freely without understanding or experiencing it's true depth. Only God can teach us the meaning of perfect love.
Great post.

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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