Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
How does God do this? Is it automatic? The born again man, or spirit man is spotless in the eyes of God, but our outward man has to be renewed, and reprogrammed to think and act like the Word of God says to think and act. God looks at our heart and sees things that no one else sees. He knows what we are thinking and the motives of our heart, and these things do matter to Him. Our motives matter as much as our actions. Many Christians would balk at this, but God’s Word has much to say about our attitude and motives. The condition of our heart has a great deal to do with our faith walk, and whether we produce good or evil.
God knows the beginning from the end and nothing is hidden from Him. I’ve used this Scripture before but I would like to take another look at it.
Psalms 139:1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
3. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
4. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
He knows why we do the things we do, He knows if we do them for our own motives or if we do them with a proper and upright attitude before Him.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
How does life spring from your heart?
Jesus said this…
Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
What is in our heart will eventually come out of our mouth. What comes out of our mouth will dictate the issues of life. Impure motives will also produce impure words. Impure words are words that spring from impure motives. This is why it is vitally important to keep our hearts. That is where the life is kept. We can’t have a heart full of good and a heart full of evil at the same time. God knows our heart, even if we mess up.
Let’s look at an example of this in God’s Word.
1 Kings 15:11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did his father David.
12. And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
13. Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron.
14. But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa's heart was loyal to the Lord all his days.
Asa wasn’t perfect, but the word says he was loyal to the Lord all the days of his life. He even went as far as removing His grandmother from being queen. His motives were right, his heart was right before the Lord wasn’t it? We also see that he was compared to David. Did David ever mess up? Yes, but as we just read, Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did his father David. God looks at the inner man not the outer man. We see this in the account of when the Prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse to anoint a new king, and he would have chosen the oldest yet the Lord spoke to him and said…
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.''
Man most often looks at outward things, but God knows the hearts of men and He wants those who have a pure heart and motives.
If our words do not issue from an upright heart, can our faith work?
If our heart is full of evil, can our mouth speak the truth of God’s Word in faith and expect to see results? I don’t think so. This is more than just speaking words, it is speaking words from a heart full of faith, and that can only happen if our heart is right. Wow! Can you see how important this is? This is where the blessings of God are. God saw David’s heart when the prophet Samuel could only see the outward appearance. David was chosen because of this. This same lesson is as vital for us today as it was then. We can work for the Lord, but will we just be working, or will we be walking in God’s blessings. I pray we can grasp the importance of this. You can walk in obedience and still have a bad attitude, and on the other hand, you can even mess up with a good attitude, as we have already seen with King Asa and King David.
I don’t know about you, but I want God’s blessings. What do I have to do to walk in these blessings. It is more than blind obedience, God does look at our motives? Our Father did not create robots. He wants to see us doing His will because we want to. He wants to bless us, just as earthly parents want to bless their children. We know that there are times when we just can’t do all the things we would like to do for our children. They have to grow up and come to a place where they can receive the blessings that we would want to give them. In other words, many times children have to grow up before we give them the things they want or think they need. You wouldn’t give a 10 year old a car. No, that would be dangerous to them and irresponsible of you. A 10 year old would not be ready for that responsibility. We are not always ready for the things God has for us, even when we think we are. Our Father knows what we are capable of much better than we do.
There is a very strong example in the New Testament of people doing good things with wrong motives. I would like to look at the negative side of improper motives. I believe God will look at our motives even over the actions themselves. He knows if we meant good or evil, regardless of the outward circumstances.
Acts 4:36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
37. having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
5: 1. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
2. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
4. "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.''
5. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
6. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8. And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?'' And she said, "Yes, for so much.''
9. Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.''
10. Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
11. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
The Holy Spirit put this in the Scripture for our admonishment, not to scare us but to show us the importance of having pure motives and desiring to walk in true holiness.
Giving money to the poor is not a bad thing is it? I would say it is very admirable in itself. However we can see in this instance that they were judged not for their actions but for their motives. Peter said to Ananias, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.''
Ananias and Sapphira were made examples of for all of us to see. We can do good things with impure motives and as we can see from this example there will be devestating consequences. They were not blessed for what appeared to be a good deed, but because of a lying heart lost their life.
A clean and upright heart will bring blessings, a lying heart will eventually bring judgement. When much is given, much will be required. This happened during a time of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In the last days God will pour out His Spirit in an even greater measure than in the beginning. I believe we will see this same kind of judgement happening when Christians will not walk in holiness before the Lord.
We should all have a holy fear and reverence of the things of God.
Lets take this admonishment to heart and seek after God in holiness. Amen
Ephesians 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.
The Olive Branch