Friday, July 29, 2011
Search My Heart, Lord: Psalm 139
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
One of the things I never want to do when writing is to sound like I have it all together, know all the answers, or sound like I don't have issues of my own. Teaching and sharing help me learn.
Despite our claims to the contrary, we have all discovered that there are still some pretty bad things in our heart. Perhaps you have had the experience of praying and noticed a stray wicked thought or two suddenly popping into your mind. Or maybe you have a sin or two that you have been battling a long time, and have yet to see complete victory over it.
Possibly, like Paul, you have felt, "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me" (Romans 7:21).You probably aren't really comfortable with the idea that some of the sins we are struggling against will be a part of our lives forever.But the sooner we can accept this, the better we can become in combating sin.
But what comfort can we derive rom the study of scripture?
First of all, we are not alone in our fight against sin. God is with us and in us. Jesus said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:20). Jesus has not left us orphaned or bereft. We are not alone in our struggle against sin.
Second, you aren't the only one going through what you are going through. "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor 10:13).
Third, in order to defeat any enemy, we must know and understand who and what we are fighting. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus said, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."
...from within our own hearts....Wow!
We need look no further than ourselves to find the source of most of the evil and sin that plague us. So daily we ask ourselves, "Who is the biggest sinner you know?" And, if we are honest, we must include ourselves before all others who may come to mind.
As Christians, we need to remain aware of the sinfulness and deceitfulness of our own hearts. Too many of us think that our favorite or pet sin is excusable because it isn't really that serious, because others do it, because it isn't our fault, or other such lies we too often tell ourselves. No sin is excusable and we must accept the fact that we are all sinners who have fallen short.
Why does the psalmist ask God to search his heart? I think, because we cannot truly know or understand the depths of the sin in our own hearts. Only God can know that. Sin is tricky and deceitful, and it hides itself inside of us. In our own strength and our own knowledge, we are not able to fully discern its depths or presence.
We must ask God to search our hearts and unearth sins that we do not even know are lurking there. We must look into God's word and judge our holiness by its words, not by our own. By asking God to search our hearts, we are asking Him to help us to identify sin so that we can confess it and resist it.
It sounds hopeless, but we have the TRINITY on our sides! The Lord has taken all our sin upon Himself on the cross and guaranteed us the right to be called His children. We are guaranteed heaven and eternity with Him. Our minds, guided by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God can help us gain control over ourselves and our sins.
Pray that God would help us search our hearts, reveal to us our sins so that we can turn from them, and get back to out true purposes...
Originally posted 2-26-11