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.
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I have always appreciated the way that David handled the victories of life in a God honoring way. He would use the past victories God had given to him to encourage his heart and prepare him for the next challenge that faced him.
One example of this is when he faced Goliath, his source of encouragement was his past victories over the bear and the lion..
“David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
I really appreciated this post. It was a blessing!
Looking forward to “Thoughful Thursdays”.
Thank you for your encouragement! God is so good. Love what you shared above.
I always enjoy reading your posts, and think you have put together a beautiful blog! Because of this, I’ve decided to honor you with the “One Lovely Blog” Award!
Rules for how to accept the award and your badge can be found at this link: http://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/one-lovely-blog-award/
Even if you choose not to accept blogging awards, I hope you’ll consider this a well-deserved pat on the back for a job well done!
Thank you so much, John. What a kindness and encouragement you have bestowed! I gladly accept and hope to encourage you in the same way you have me! To God be the glory!
Well, the award was well deserved! That’s one of the greatest things about blogging, I think, is finding a community of people to help cheer you on…
Have a good one!