We sang in worship this morning a song that included a desire to present to God an inside that was both clean and committed. It reminded me of the words of another song, “Cleanse my heart O God.” I’ve probably sung that song a hundred times without dwelling on the fact that unless my focus is heart-centric cleansing is superficial at best. In any area that I have not surrendered to God from the core of my being, I continue to struggle. For example, I know that when my wife is talking to me I should listen. Yet, because I am intent on getting my work done or enjoying my activity, I do not give her my full attention. Mentally I ought to be able to fix inattentiveness and focus on what Kathleen is saying but without a surrendered heart it is just not so. The problem at the core is I am more concerned with my things than with her things.
King Solomon wrote, “When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, he taught me and said: ‘Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live” (Proverbs 4:3,4). Notice David did not teach his son, “Your mind must hold on to my words.” He knew better. David understood God’s commandments yet he allowed his heart to lust after Bathsheba and that led to adultery, murder, and a shattered reputation. Deeply grieving, this broken king cried out, “God create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). David needed God to work on his heart otherwise he was a lost cause.
Matthew 23:25,26—Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean.
Jesus blasted the religious leaders because outwardly they gave the appearance that they were righteous. What they did not know was that He could see right into their hearts. Solomon wrote, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” (Pro.4:23). Evidently, the Pharisees missed that passage. While they could quote Scripture and impressively knew the law inside and out, they often acted hypocritically because their hearts were selfish.
Are you frustrated with a certain area of your life that remains unreformed? Ask God to deal with and change your heart. He is faithful and will answer your cry if you are serious and truly with humility resolved to obey.
The Bible makes the heart the centre of thinking, and the brain merely the machinery the heart uses to express itself . . . No man can keep Jesus Christ’s commandments unless God has done a radical work in his heart; but if He has, this is the practical, common-sense proof—he keeps the commandments of Jesus.—Oswald Chambers in Biblical Psychology
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)