The intentions of the heart belong to a man, but the answer of the tongue comes from the LORD. All a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the LORD evaluates the motives.
I love the book of Proverbs and read from this book or another book of Wisdom from the Bible each Thursday, so I decided that Thursdays should be dubbed “Thoughtful Thursdays”. Has a nice ring to it. Today as I was reading, I realize that we will never be done in this life with examining our motives. Sigh. We never arrive, and our hearts are deceitful beyond cure, according to Jeremiah. But there is hope in this work of the heart: The Holy Spirit, prayer, and the Word of God are able to set us free daily and illuminate our motives which do not bring God glory.
Much like daily habits we develop, whether it is brushing our teeth (I hope!), washing our face, bathing, getting dressed, cleaning, cooking, teaching . . . the habit of heart examination is a daily habit that we dare not slack off in. Just like our teeth would rot (sorry for that thought!), our home would go into disrepair, our body would suffer due to lack of care, so inattentiveness to the state of our heart can lead to spiritual malnutrition and fleshly living that has an affect on eternity.
I can grow prideful when I see victories in my life, if I forget where the source of that victory was. I can grow weary and tired,too, if I strive in the flesh for a perfection that will never be attained on this earth. What then is my goal? I dare not rest. Doing nothing is doing something – slowly giving in to the flesh and living a life that is not productive. A goal of having my heart tender to the Lord, of asking Him to help me recognize when I have selfish ambition or motives that bring me glory is a start.
God has us cornered, though. If we do not face the condition of our heart by our own study in His Word, prayer, or the Holy Spirit, He will bring an awareness to us through other means – how wise He is – through relationships. Relationships can be the most fulfilling and the most challenging aspect of our lives, and they can be the crucible the Lord uses to convey our heart’s intent. It is this inner wrestling, though, that at first we despise, which ultimately brings us the greatest joy and peace. Not condemnation or discouragement at our failings, but gratitude that God is showing us our sin and then enabling us to overcome it again and again.
So I will close with a little more fodder to encourage self reflection today from the book of Timothy. May God help us to recognize haughty thoughts or any thought which esteems ourselves rather than the Giver of all wisdom. Examine our hearts, oh God! Help us to put no confidence in our flesh and make us more like You, all for Your magnificent glory!
1 Timothy 1:5
But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.