Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Asking The Lord to search our hearts is an important and beneficial discipline that can keep us progressing in our walk with Him. It can help us see areas where we fall short of His example. I listened to My Merciful Lord’s answer, which came quickly and gently. Two passages of scripture come to mind when I think about who Jesus is and who we should be as we mature into His image. One is the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23; the other is the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Asking myself how I compare with these two depictions of Christ reveals to me where my problems lay. So this time, when I asked, God showed me I had lost the joy I should be demonstrating as a fruit of the Spirit. So I asked Him to reveal the source. He said, “You’ve been resentful, because you have envied others. You’ve been exhausted because you have been suffering and instead of turning to me, you relied on yourself, my Darling you do not have the stores to do this alone. Give it to me.”
I did something I do not often do and that is, open the Bible to a random page and read. But there are times when God will speak that way. I opened the Bible to Joel chapter 2 and I read. Joel 2:12-13 reads,
Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
I had been sinning, wearing my suffering for everyone to see, tearing my garments, heaping ashes on my head and crying for others to see. I had to break my heart so He could give me a new one. I had to put on the garment God gave me. Jesus said,
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18).
I had exalted my suffering, wore it so that everyone could see it, and reveled in it. There is a difference between telling people I am suffering and need prayer and walking around looking, feeling, and exuding gloom. I should have trusted them to be compassionate since they too have the Spirit in them. We all suffer. I do not know anyone who isn’t suffering. Mine is no more special or important than yours. How can I share the love Paul described if I am glorifying myself through exalting my suffering? How can I demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit if I am busy demonstrated my pitiable self?
Jesus gave me a garment. Isaiah 61:1-3 reads,
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
With my torn heart, I can wear a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, I can apply the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and wear the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit. When people see me they should see an oak of righteousness and glorify the Lord. Am I praising God or am I walking around faint in spirit? I have so much to be beautiful and glad about. Jesus overcame death and sin, He rose from the dead and made me alive in Him. One day we will be resurrected, receive new bodies, and spend eternity face to face with God! This life is temporary. We only have a short time to do the good work we were made for and reveal Jesus Christ to the world so they too can have the hope we have. Romans 6:5-11 reads,
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus gave me a new mind and a new heart. I am a new person. But I have to purposefully put on the new self. He gives me these things, but I must put them on. Ephesians 4:20-24 reads,
But that is not the way you learned Christ! — 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Believer, if we want to look like Jesus, who we were created to look like, we have to be diligent about walking with Him. Take off your old filthy garments and put on the new garment washed clean in Jesus’ blood. You are not the sins of your past. You are not your illness, addiction, or bank account. You are not the circumstances of your life. You are a new creation, with a new name. You are a child of the Living God. The devil wants to destroy you. He accuses you of being your old self; he accuses you of being unworthy of God’s grace. Whether you are worthy of grace or not (and who is), you have been granted that grace. God chooses to see you through the blood of Jesus, He chooses to see you as His holy child. You are not what the father of lies claims, you are who the Lord God says you are.
Ask God to search your heart. Listen to what He tells you and put off the old self, be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God.