What's the Condition of Your Heart?

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago I was preparing for preaching and one of the bible passages I was using was from Luke 9:51-56.  James and his brother John were displaying a judgemental attitude and Jesus' response to them grabbed my attention.  Part of what he said was this: "You don't realise what your hearts are like." (verse 55, NLT).

It was true of them then, but it can also be true of me and you.  We can be going about our daily routine, our various responsibilities at home, work and church, unaware of what may really be in our hearts.  We can be blind to what's in our hearts, blind to an unknown sin which we may be harbouring.  In Jeremiah 17:9-10a we read  "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is?  10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives." (NLT) We may be able to deceive others, or deceive ourselves, but we can't deceive God, he is the one who really knows our hearts, (Luke 16:15).

It takes Jesus to reveal to James and John the true state of their hearts.  Today, we too need God to reveal to us the condition of our hearts.  God shows us exactly what is in our hearts, whether it's bitterness, anger, jealousy, lust, greed, unforgiveness, hate or something else. When he reveals to me what my heart looks like it's as though he's holding a mirror in front of me and I'm then able to see what he sees.

I'll be honest with you, I don't always like what I see.  For example, there was a time when he showed me how critical and judgemental I was in my heart towards others.  If anyone had asked me I would have told them that I had a heart that was loving to others, that's what I believed anyway, I had no idea what kind of condition my heart was really in.

It's painful when God opens my eyes to see what he sees in me, it's not who I thought I was, it's not who I want to be, I want to be Christ-like.  But despite it being painful and difficult, it's a good thing when God opens my eyes, because now I have the opportunity to change my heart, to confess that sinful attitude and to seek, with confidence, his forgiveness.  It says in 1 John 1:9 that  "9 if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (NLT)  God can cleanse my heart and with his help my attitude becomes more like his.  The psalmist prayed and we can pray the same thing: "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 (NLT)

God uses a variety of ways to reveal to us what's really in our hearts.  Sometimes he's used my circumstances, a trial I've been going through, to show me the truth, other times it may be during my quiet time with him as I'm reading his word and praying, or through another person, or it can be by any other means he chooses.

God's purpose in revealing to me the condition of my heart is always for my good.  Whereas the devil would use the opportunity to get me to doubt myself, to try to get me to believe that I'm a terrible example of what being a Christian is all about, to feed into my negative feelings and thoughts about myself, to make me believe I'll never be good enough, that I can't ever measure up, that I'm just not worth loving, God uses the opportunity to reveal my sin in such a gentle and loving way, so that I can receive his forgiveness and to change me more and more into the image of his son, Jesus.  "And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." 2 Corinthians 3:18b (NLT)

This is what God wants for each one of us, that day by day we are being changed so that we more closely resemble the likeness of Jesus.  What starts off as a painful process actually becomes a healing one, and we can entrust ourselves to a loving God who wants only the best for us.

To Think About:
Can you remember a time when God revealed to you what your heart was like?  How did he do this?  What was it he revealed?  How did you respond?

Are you open to God revealing to you today the condition of your heart?  Has he revealed anything to you as you've read this devotional?  What will you choose to do with what he shows you?

Vicki

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