“Search me, O God, and know my heart!” (Ps. 139:23)
Are you willing to pray this prayer like David did in Psalm 139? Are you broken enough to ask God to search your heart? Are you willing to be tried and tested by the God who knows all your attitudes, motives and thoughts? This is a humbling prayer. Praying to ask God to search your heart can be a tough prayer but as followers of Christ this ought to be our prayer daily: “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”
Scripture tells us “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9)? I don’t think anybody is raising their hand saying, “I can understand my heart.” Jeremiah is clearly asking the question rhetorically. The obvious answer is nobody. I know for me there is a desire to follow after Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and strength but my flesh is waging war to steal those affections and desires. My flesh wants Egypt and slavery instead of freedom in the promise land. I fear I’ve lacked to pray like David and ask the Lord to search me and know my heart. The LORD responds to verse 9 of Jeremiah by saying, “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10). It is the LORD alone who can search the heart and test our thoughts. We need to pray often, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”
As we pray for the LORD to search our hearts we can rest assured he will provide grace and strength through the work of his Spirit. The significance is not just in asking the LORD to search us but knowing that he alone can restore our broken hearts. If he did not want restoration he would not have sent his Son to die on the cross. God loves us, not in some mystical way that gives us some sort of tingling sensation but in a real way that we can see through the cross. God sent his Son to die so we might be given hearts of flesh rather than our hearts of stone. Since God has given us new hearts he is not going to leave us to do the rest on our own. He promises to be our strength in the battle against sin. He has given us his armor of the gospel to fight in the battle (Eph. 6:14-17). We must continually beg for God to search our hearts so he may graciously reveal our sin to us. As he reveals sin to us we must confess and repent. He promises to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He promises to renew us daily by his Spirit. Our daily pursuit of holiness will cause us to cry out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”
“For God did not call us to be impure but to a holy life” (1 Thes. 4:7). The fight for a holy life is not an easy road to travel but we are not alone. God has given us his Spirit, his Church and his word as helpers. We need to be faithful to ask God to continue to search us and reveal sin in our heart so we can put sin to death. My great lack last year was prayer so I wanted to start the New Year challenging myself more than anybody else to be a man of prayer. I would also encourage each of you to be people who pray for God to search your heart and thoughts. O if you are like me this will not be an easy walk but God in his grace will gently show me sin. As he does my only response will be praise for his great love which he showed by crushing his Son to pay the debt I could never pay. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there by any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24)!
Grace upon grace,
Congratulations to Mike Morse for winning the Andrew Murray book Humility!