“The human heart is the very throne and citadel of God. When he moves in, heaven begins.” —Sadhu Sundar Singh
I want to write about the heart. That’s what determines who we are, what we’re worth to God, what we mean to God—and what we mean to each other. It’s not about who’s the smartest, or the most educated or even the most anointed. None of the above. We look on the outside; Jesus looks on the heart. We look at ability, leadership, skills and power, but he looks on the heart. You can’t hide it from him. You can hide it from people. You can even hide it from your own family. You can hide it from your church and hide it from your friends, but you can’t hide your heart from God. It’s what’s in the heart that matters.
We look for something else, and so we hide our hearts. We hide what’s really the motivation behind all we think, say and do. But God looks at our motivation. By that standard nobody can stand without the blood of Jesus. And by that definition, a change of heart is the biggest miracle, the most important miracle and the only miracle that really matters. We need all the other miracles. We need health and wealth more than anybody in Mozambique. But God could fork over all the money we want in a day. He could heal everybody in Mozambique in a day. But he spends an entire lifetime working on a believer’s heart. The heart is His greatest masterpiece, his greatest creation. That’s what he’s interested in—your heart. We are desperate for him to heal our diseases and pay our rent, but we should be even more desperate for a clean heart. Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” How’s that for a definition of real, pure revival? If we do what he says, he will do what we say.
So many want the secret to power, miracles and manifestations. But it’s a question of the heart. Faith is not just some power that makes God do what you want, producing miracles magically. Faith is knowing God well enough to know what he wants to do in a given situation. When you carry his heart, you know how to pray, and he’s delighted to do what you ask. God “fashions the hearts of them all…” (Psalm 33:15). It is God who fashions hearts, not you. You can’t take your heart and change it. It’s not your creation. It’s not in your power to fix it. He creates hearts, he fashions them into what he wants. You are his workmanship. You don’t deserve a better heart, but he makes one anyway. You don’t have a good heart naturally; nobody does! The greatest miracle there could possibly be is that this God of ours comes down into this sinful world and fashions hearts after his own design and desire.
It’s the heart that determines everything. A good heart can appreciate and enjoy everything that is good. A bad heart can’t appreciate anything. What messes life up and steals your joy is a bad heart.
You need understanding to keep God’s law with all your heart. With a good heart, you can rejoice with those who rejoice, and be glad always. Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. You don’t have to understand everything. You don’t have to figure everything out if you are able to trust God with your whole heart. So what’s the problem? As Jeremiah says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick.” What’s the problem with life? The heart is the problem, the heart is deceitful. The heart is the whole issue. Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” How many want to see God? Well, you can’t just teach people how to “visit heaven.” You need a pure heart. Can you imagine how nice and peaceful life would be with a pure heart? If you had one, trusting God would be easy! Life would be peaceful, whatever the swirl and tribulation around you. Why are we so hungry for everything else? Why are so many messages about other things? We have a long list of requests, but with a pure heart, it wouldn’t matter if you were rich or poor, where you were born, what your situation is. With a pure heart, you enjoy everything—friends, family, challenges, and suffering for righteousness’ sake. With little or much, you have strength to endure all things.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.…” Where is your treasure? Where have you set your heart? When you get up in the morning, where do you set your heart? To have motivation in anything, you have to set your heart somewhere. What is it that motivates you to roll out of bed in the morning and do something? Where is your treasure? What are you thinking about? What motivates you? By now I have found there is only one place to set it, and that’s Jesus himself. That includes Father, Son and Spirit—God. Set your heart on him and nowhere else. That’s the only way to make progress toward a pure one. If you set your heart on anything else, you’re an idolater, an adulterer, and you can’t be pure.
Holiness and Jesus are the same thing. A pure heart and God are the same thing. Jesus has become to us our sanctification. He is our heart. Those who join themselves to the Lord become one with him. Union with God has always been the goal of the great mystics of the Church. We partake of his nature and become like him. It’s personal, it’s relational and it satisfies. If you set your heart on anything else your heart will not be satisfied. You will still be heartsick. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus explained, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored in his heart. And an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart….” What is in your heart is going to come out. It’s going to shape your life; it’s going to affect everything you do. A lot of people pretend. They look like they’re doing good things. They look like they’re successful. They look like good people. But God sees the heart. He weighs the motivation of the heart. And it will come out eventually. It will be made clear. It will become obvious to everybody what is in your heart. You can’t maintain a facade forever. It will come out in your actions. It will be known. The fruit will manifest, good or bad. You can’t put on an act. It’s your heart that determines what kind of eternity you’re going to have.
We are God’s workmanship, and he is not finished with us. We are continually on the potter’s wheel, being molded and shaped into the image of love, which is Jesus himself.
Good hearts produce fruit and a good crop. The most valuable thing you could ever pray for is a pure heart. And only God can give you this. “Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink, do not worry about it. Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with the anxieties of life. And that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” Jesus says to the Pharisees, “I know you. I know you do not have the love of God in your hearts.” Everything is about the heart. Jesus taught and taught, and it was all about the heart. That’s all that mattered to him.
“Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you. I do not give peace as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Do you have a troubled heart? You can have everything in the world, but what’s the point if your heart is troubled? If your heart is troubled no amount of luxury is going to help. The slightest bit of sin is going to trouble your heart. Why would you want to do anything that is going to trouble your heart? Sin is anything that takes away your joy. Why is that? Because it spoils your heart. “Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices.…” Hearts are supposed to be glad. That is the normal Christian heart.
When people get convicted, they get cut to the heart, to the very core of their being. A lot of people need their hearts cut to the core, sliced to the guts. Would you like the Holy Spirit to shine so deep into your heart that everything is revealed and cleaned out? That doesn’t just happen because you declare, “God likes me the way I am.” Yes, He loves you, but that doesn’t mean he likes what’s in there. We need to be fixed. We need to come before Jesus totally empty and say, “I just want a clean, pure heart. That’s what I want from God.” That’s how I see revival—huge numbers of people pouring forward to get a clean heart. Then miracles will follow.
What if we decided that all we wanted was to be a people after God’s heart, seeking what he wants us to do rather than trying to convince him of our own plans. God said of David, “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Wouldn’t it be amazing if God said the same about us! And in return God gives us the desire of our hearts—himself.
Onward and upward in Jesus!