There is a chasm wide and deep that will forever separate the way God sees the hearts of men, and the way men see their own hearts. We have so romanticized the heart that in the eyes of most in our day and age, the heart of man can do no wrong. We’ve all heard the flowery one liners, from ‘follow your heart and you’ll find your bliss’, to ‘trust your heart it will not lead you astray’, to ‘if your heart tells you something’s right, then how can it be wrong?’
Now all these sayings make for great bumper stickers, but they are among the vilest of lies that have ever been uttered since the genesis of human existence. In order to understand the true nature of the human heart, we must take into account the One who created it, and what He thinks of it.
Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Ecclesiastes 9:3, “This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
I don’t know about you, but I get the distinct impression that God sees the hearts of His creation, very differently than how His creation sees their own hearts. There is a great mass of humanity today that is following their hearts right into hell. There was no way to sugar coat the previous statement, no way of making it more palatable, because this is the reality that we must accept and deal with.
Yes, it is true, the heart wants what the heart wants, but absent of God, the heart wants your destruction, your hopelessness and your death. Beware the heart of the unregenerate man, for in it there is much wickedness.
There is only one way by which your heart will not continually deceive you, there is only one way by which your heart will not be full of evil and filled with madness, and that is by God being ever present on the throne of your heart.
So what is it that God does in the hearts of men?
The Word tells us that one of the things God does with the human heart is He tests it. The God who sees all and knows all, also sees and knows the condition of our hearts. He is also aware of the intent with which we perform certain tasks or functions. The human heart is the wellspring of intent, and by it and through it God knows if something was done out of love or bitterness, out of mercy of a vested interest, out of love for Him, or love for self.
Psalm 7:9-10, “Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, who saves he upright in heart.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4, “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”
God is continually testing the hearts of men, even the hearts of believers, and those we consider mature in the faith, and the constant hope of God’s faithful is that He saves the upright in heart. God tests the heart, because in it He finds the answers to such questions as ‘is what we do for the glory of God, or for our own? Do we serve Him because we love Him, or because of the things we think He will give us if we feign service? Is He the preeminent priority in our lives, or do we have other gods before Him?’ All these questions can only be answered by testing the heart.
God also touches the hearts of men, that they might be sensitive to His guidance, and fulfill His purpose. There was much division in the land of Israel when the first king was chosen to rule over the people. Just as it is today, no matter who is chosen to rule over a people, there is never total consensus, or unity regarding that person. When God chose Saul to be king over Israel, not all the people were excited or even accepting of him. In fact there was a number who despised him, and wondered to themselves how one such as Saul could save them.
There was however a group of men, whose hearts God touched, and they went with Saul as his protection detail. These were valiant men, and because God touched their hearts, they followed after their newly anointed king without murmur or complaint.
1 Samuel 10:26, “And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched.”
When God touches a man’s heart, his perception, and his perspective are transformed. He does not see as he once saw, but as God sees a given situation or circumstance, and as such follows after God’s guidance.
When we come before Him with repentance of the heart, and a humble spirit, God also cleanses the hearts of men. God will not build upon an existing foundation. God will not accept anything less than our whole heart that He may do the work of sanctification and regeneration required for us to be able to call ourselves His children. We can give of our time, we can give of our possessions, we can give of our talents, but God requires the heart. In fact God demands the heart, for if our hearts are not His, nothing is His, but if our hearts are truly His then everything is His.
Hebrews 10:19-22, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
This is a work that God alone can do, by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Once our hearts are His, God also establishes, or strengthens our hearts in holiness. No words can describe the tragedy of believing that God is up in heaven, looking down, but remains wholly uninvolved in our lives. So many live with the belief that when we suffer, God turns a blind eye, when we need strength He simply shrugs His shoulders, and when we need direction, He remains silent. God is ever present in the lives of His children, and strengthens them when they are weak, binds their wounds when they are hurting, and speaks to them when they need to hear His voice. We serve an engaged God, a God who is involved in the lives of His beloved, whose presence is plainly visible if only we had eyes to see.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming o four Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
God also guides, or directs the hearts of men. I realize many today have adopted the idea that everything is chance, happenstance, a chain of events that lead to a chain reaction, absent of any external or divine influence. To me that just sounds depressing, but it is also unbiblical.
Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
“Are you saying that God stirs nations against each other? Are you suggesting that God puts animosity in the hearts of men for their neighbors? Are you implying that natural disasters whether earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornados, or typhoons are divinely ordained?”
I’m not the one saying it, the Bible says it, and I believe what the Word of God says. I believe one of the most destructive things to take place within the house of God over the past century, is that we’ve attempted to reshape God, and remake Him into what we would like Him to be. It’s like all of a sudden, within the past century God has undergone a major makeover, and He no longer judges sin, He no longer gets angry, He is no longer holy, righteous and just, He’s just a harmless white haired deity, sitting up in heaven, weighed down by the passage of centuries, just hoping we do the right thing, so that He could bless us by way of material excess.
We have attempted to strip God of His omnipotence, we have attempted to strip God of His omniscience, because to say that God allowed something to happen would offend the world, and compel them to point out, at least from their skewed view, that God is unfair, unloving, unjust, and unmerciful.
Because our focus is more on being politically correct, than pleasing in the sight of God, we have taken the one true God, the God at whose name entire nations trembled in fear, and relegated Him to the position of a magic genie who grants us wishes if we say the right words at the right time.
Since we’re on the topic, this is also largely the reason there no longer remains a shred of the fear of the Lord among many of today’s churches, because in their estimation even if God wanted to do something, even if He did want to punish sin and separate the wheat from the chaff, He just doesn’t have the power to do it anymore.
Not only does the world perceive the God of the Bible as being powerless, but many Christians share the world’s view concerning this matter.
Yes, the heart of man is a complicated thing, for it can either be a host of peace, joy, righteousness and devotion, or a host of sin, darkness, madness and death. Whether God is present in our hearts makes all the difference in the world, as striking a difference as that between noonday and midnight.
Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.