Friday, February 17, 2012

A Look at the Heart

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

I lay on my side barely able to see the screen from which a total stranger examined the inner chambers of my heart. Occasionally he would turn on the volume and I could hear the thumpety thumping or the whooshing of blood being transported from the center of my being to the extremities that could not function apart from its workings.

I wondered how it could be that he didn't declare the majesty of the One who created it. And I'm ashamed that I didn't shout it out myself.

It all struck me as odd. A man looking into my heart, rambling on about pursuing his MBA, his band, whether or not he was ready to start a family (all intended to make me feel at ease, I'm sure). All in a day's work for him. He found my heart to be working fine. And I was on my way.

Yet, the memories of that day continue to permeate my thoughts. Seeing the image of my heart on a computer screen with technicians looking on. And even more than that, the vision of Creator God, who needs no cold gel or roller wand or state of the art technology to view what truly lies at the essence of my very being.

He peers inside...without an any moment in time...observing all that pulses within. He is the "LORD Almighty, [who] examine[s] the righteous and probe[s] the heart and mind." (Jeremiah 20:12) He knows every thought, emotion, and desire residing there.

He sees the heart as it is...pure or filthy...blameless or evil...arrogant or insecure...gentle or callous...grieved or joyful...undivided or deluded...faltering or steady...yielding or stubborn...committed or rebellious.

And He loves us unfailingly...enough to send His Son to die on our behalf...expressing grace and lavishing mercy that knows no bounds.

But we have a choice. The sacrifice He made is not one that He takes lightly...nor should we.

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, we read, "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." Yet, He says, "The perverse of heart shall be far from Me. I will have nothing to do with what is evil." (Psalm 101:4)

I think in these days of "feel good" theology, we are losing proper fear and reverence of our God, who will not be mocked. He will not stand for flippant honoring with our lips when our hearts are far from Him. (Isaiah 29:13)

I don't want to be far from Him. I want to be prepared to enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart...a pure heart. I want His love to fill my being and radiate from within. I want Him to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

So I cry out to Him and say, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin....Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place....Wash me and I will be whiter than snow....Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.' (Psalm 51)

I pray, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

Lord, we come to You with our heart conditions...yielding them to You. Give us hearts to know You, to return to You. (Jer. 24:7) Help us to seek You with all our hearts, knowing that we will find You there. (Jer. 29:13) And please keep Your Word in our minds and write it on our hearts that we will choose to follow You. (Jer. 31:30) Guard our hearts and make the overflow pleasing in Your sight.


Susan Stilwell said...

I love this post. Sarah's favorite verse is Jer 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?

I'm so thankful that He can take a heart that's heavy and hurting, and transform it with His grace and peace!

So thankful for you and your friendship & love. LOVE YOU!!!

Kristi Butler said...

Oh Susan, I'm so thankful that God was so gracious to bring you into my life!

You stay in my thoughts and prayers.

I love you!!

Heather said...

I love this post too! I needed this today especially the line, " He will not stand for flippant honoring with our lips when our hearts are far from Him. (Isaiah 29:13)". I realize I need a "heart check-up". Thank you, Kristi for your willingness to listen to our Lord AND post it :)