In my quiet time yesterday I was reflecting on Proverbs 21. I read verses such as:
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.
And I just kept thinking “it’s all about the heart”. A couple other verses that I read a few days ago also came to mind:
3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
It seemed to me, as I read and prayed through Proverbs 21, that there was something significant just beyond my grasp, and I had no idea what it was.
I kept praying “God, try my heart. God, make me pure. Give me understanding. Teach me to pursue righteousness.” But I wasn’t getting the response in prayer that I expected to get. Instead, Romans 12:2 came to mind and I thought “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind“. It was as though God was telling me “It’s not your heart that needs work” but I was reading “the LORD trieth the hearts”. I just didn’t understand it.
Finally, I understood. The thought came into my head “Robert, you’re already saved. Your heart is already pure.”
Wow. Of course! I’m not a “rusted out shell of a car” trying to discipline myself into spiritual life. It’s not my heart that needs work. God’s already given me His Spirit! I can trust that I’m not a fool. God has pondered not my heart, but Christ’s heart. I am pure, because of Christ. I am not wicked, and my sacrifices are not an abomination to the Lord. When He looks at me, He sees Christ and not me.
That changed my meditation from one marked by anxiety and doubt, but one based on gratitude. I no longer prayed “God, try my heart. God, make me pure. Give me understanding. Teach me to pursue righteousness.” Instead, I prayed “Thank you that I have the Holy Spirit. Thank you for making my righteous. Thank you that my sacrifice is not an abomination to you. Thank you that I’m accepted. Thank you that I’m a saint in your eyes.”
Now that is a transformed mind, one that keeps in mind my own changed nature, and the changed relationship I enjoy with God.