Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 75

Answered Prayers continued...

So what’s so important about these four attributes? Why must we possess all four in order to enter the Holiest? Won’t just a true heart suffice? Won’t just full assurance of faith due? Why must all four of these elements be present in us in order to come boldly before the throne, and enter the Holiest?

The first attribute the word of God speaks of is a true heart, or a pure heart. In other words, in order to enter the Holiest you must possess a sincere heart, a heart absent of guile, a heart absent of pretense, a heart absent of hidden or vested motives. The heart is the first thing to receive God, the ways of God, and the truth of God. It all begins with the heart.

The heart is the center, and nexus of human personality. As the heart is, so is the man. What the heart desires, what the heart chooses, what the heart loves, what the heart hates, shows us the reality of an individual as well as decides what he is, and what he will become.

If the heart is set upon noble endeavors, if it is set upon loving God and its fellow man, of doing good, and living rightly, then the individual in question will become that which the heart desires, and is set upon.

If the external appearance of an individual allows us to know their gender, their physical qualities, and their approximate age, the heart constitutes the true worth of the inner man. Because the heart defines the nature of a man, as well as the true worth of a man, it is the heart God seeks out, the heart that He weighs, and the heart that He desires to reside in. No one can truly seek God unless their heart sincerely seeks after Him with love, as the great treasure that He is.

The heart of man was created in such a way, that it can know, and love God. The great indictment God brings against His people is that their hearts have turned away from Him, and in their heart they have strayed, and started worshipping idols.

Ezekiel 6:9-10, “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations. And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them.”

No matter how many times I read this scripture, I am always astounded by God’s tenderness. No, not tenderness toward those who possessed adulterous hearts, who had departed from Him, and played the harlot after idols, but His tenderness – the tenderness of His personality.

God said He was crushed. He did not say He was disappointed, he did not say the idolatry of the people and the adultery of their heart wasn’t ‘their best’. He was crushed by their sin and their adulterous hearts.

I realize full well that in this particular generation, wherein everyone does what is right in their own eyes, and no delineation remains between sin and righteousness, between the holy and the profane, it would be difficult for some to grasp or understand how God’s heart could be crushed by the sin of His people.

Seeing as the meaning of certain words often escapes us because we are quick to redefine them whenever it suits us, the word ‘crushed’ means to press or squeeze with force or violence typically causing serious damage or injury.

What God went through seeing the idolatry and adultery of His peoples’ hearts was no small thing. It was not trivial, something to be discounted and overlooked. God’s heart was crushed!

God has not changed. He remains ever the same in His righteousness, in His holiness, in His love, in His mercy, in His grace, in His justice, but also in His tenderness. His heart is still crushed today as it was long ago, seeing the adulterous hearts of those who call themselves His own, and seeing them as they play the harlot with a plethora of idols all the while dismissing and snubbing Him.

God sees the heart, He knows the intent thereof, and judges the trueness thereof. We can say we serve God with our lips, we can sing and clap and jump about, but if He is not preeminent in our hearts, if He is not on the throne, and something else has replaced Him, we cannot expect to enter the Holiest.

Knowing the importance of the heart, knowing the role it plays in man’s spiritual condition, God warns us in His word, and repeatedly so how exceedingly wicked, treacherous, and traitorous the heart of man can be. Contrary to popular belief, following your heart isn’t always the best course of action; it isn’t always the path that will lead you to something greater. Most often following one’s heart, and not the unction and urging of the Holy Spirit, following one’s heart, and not the word of God, will lead you further away from Him, from His love, His peace and His grace.

Hebrews 3:14-15, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’”

Men can, and do harden their hearts upon hearing the voice of God. Men can, and do reject God’s call, His love, and His grace, hardening their hearts against the mercy God is willing to show.

Before we can enter the Holiest, before we can pray with the expectancy of having our prayers answered, our hearts must be what God expects them to be. Our hearts must be true.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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