My children have a bit too much of their father in them for their own good. Despite our best efforts, they on occasion misbehave by mistreating one or more of their siblings. Living in the same house means you know what buttons to push to get one of those over-the-top reactions from a sister. At other times, the day is simply not going their way and being grumpy is far easier than being pleasant.
My wife has a clever way of speaking to our girls when situations get really bad. She pulls the offending child to the side and asks, “What was in your heart right then?” It’s actually a brilliant approach on my wife’s part because it immediately gets to the most critical aspect of all our behavior – the state of our heart.
Solomon wrote about the evil man that “as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). He previously encouraged his children to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Everything about who we are – our values, our passions and our aversions – can be found within the chambers of our heart. In fact, regarding the spiritual battles which rage between our flesh and the spirit, the heart is the prize which goes to the victor.
God referred to David as “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). As we look into David’s life, we don’t find a flawless life. We see David’s faith in God as he faced Goliath. We see David restraining his hand when unjustly persecuted by Saul because of David’s respect for God’s anointed kings. David was certainly admirable, but not flawless. In fact, the Bible openly details his great sins, especially adultery with Bathsheba and later giving the command to have her husband killed in battle.
How can a man who committed adultery and then tried to hide it be considered a man after God’s own heart? We find the answer in David’s response to his sins. He didn’t embrace his weaknesses and ask God to accept him without change nor did he blow them off as not being a big deal. David recognized the severity of his sins and that these awful acts came about when his heart was not right with God.
Not only did David understand his heart was at the root of these sins, he also understood that only God could make his heart right. In Psalm 51:10 David wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Just like the lesson my wife tries to teach my daughters, my spiritual problems have been heart related. I have kept secret sins within the chambers of my heart because I have been unwilling to let them go. As Solomon wrote centuries ago, my heart reveals not just my secrets, but also who I am. Perhaps we don’t look close enough at our hearts because we know we won’t like what we find.
We need the courage the open up our hearts, examine what we have placed inside them, and, if necessary, allow the Lord to create in us a clean heart. We need to find a way to be like David – men and women after God’s own heart.
Jeremy Morris, his wife, and children attend the Church of Christ off of Murray Road. He can be reached at email@example.com.