Awhile back, a good friend of mine asked me a question that I came across again recently in a book I’m reading. I want to pose it to each of you today. Please be very honest with yourself. You don’t have to share your answer with me. My purpose is not to know your secret thoughts. But I will share some of mine with you, on the off chance that some of you share in these same thoughts.
Imagine for just a moment that you were told by a reliable source that tonight you were going to meet Jesus face-to-face and He was going to judge you – He was going to reveal the deepest parts of your life and your heart – what is the first feeling that overcomes you? Is it fear or excitement?
I’ve been on a David quest for almost a year now, or more accurately a quest for David’s heart. He is described in Scripture as being a man after God’s own heart. God Himself, describes David in this way. What made him so special? Sure he was a mighty king and ruler of Israel, but he was also a royal mess up at times. I want to know what it was about Him that caused God to look upon him and describe him in such a way, despite his failures. I want a heart like that. I want to hear my Creator one day introduce me to the hosts of heaven as “Angela, a woman after my own heart”.
When I was asked that question by my friend awhile back, I was immediately overwhelmed with dread. Why? Because deep down I believed that the God I serve is mostly mad and/or sad when He looks at me. I know God loves me, I’ve always known that, but I also believed I was a huge disappointment to Him. A part of me thought I still had to do things to earn His approval.
I spoke last week about one of the keys to being a friend of God is getting to know Him. This is critical to any friendship, but especially with God. The more we understand Him, the more comfortable we are going to Him with anything and everything in our lives.
I’m reading a book right now called “After God’s Own Heart” which speaks of a concept the author calls beholding and becoming . I won’t get into too much detail about it here. But the bottom line is, as we behold our God – His emotions, His heart, His character – we will gain more understanding of how He truly feels about us. That in turn will lead to our loving Him because of the great love He has for us and that will lead to our hearts, minds and lives being transformed by God. Not by our strength, but by His.
God has shown me this has been my problem all along. I did not want to take the time to behold Him, instead I wanted to become like Him by my own strength. The key here is that I have one part in this (beholding) and God has the other part (becoming). He is the one that transforms me. I need to focus on getting to know Him and as I do so HE will transform me. I need to stop trying to bypass my part and stop trying to do His part.
So, the question then is how do we get to know God, how do we behold Him, His emotions, His character and His heart. The answer is to study His Word and spend time in His presence – prayer and worship. I’ve always done these things, but the problem is because I felt the need to prove myself to God, to “do” things to earn His approval, my focus was always on becoming. I would read His Word to gain more knowledge, to be a scholar who knew all the answers. When I prayed I worried about how my prayers sounded. Were they holy enough? Did I sound sincere and knowledgeable about God. When I worshiped it was about going through the motions, doing what I knew I was supposed to do to honor God. But something was always missing. The friendship part – because I was focused on becoming what God wanted me to be and doing so in my power – I only knew God on paper. It was a logical, scholarly thing, not a heart thing. Bottom line, my focus was on me, not Him.
God is slowly showing me what it means to behold Him. To read His Scriptures, not for knowledge that will make me wiser by man’s standards, but to read His Scripture to see His heart, His character and His emotions. To pray and just rest in His presence, not expecting that something must be resolved each time I go to Him in prayer. That just sitting in silence with Him is enough. To worship and truly focus on Him and not what I need to do or what others may be thinking. I loved Dineen’s post this week about worship. This truly is the key to knowing God. As we open our hearts and minds to Him, He reveals Himself to us. God created us to be influenced by music, which is why the enemy uses it so much to influence society and feed us his lies. He sees the connection that is created between us and our Creator with music and he twists it to serve his purposes.
When David sinned so greatly by laying with Bathsheba, getting her pregnant, having her husband killed and then taking her as his wife – the Lord revealed his sin through the prophet Nathan. What was David’s response? He repented of this sin and then he prayed and fasted, asking the Lord to spare his son’s life. In the end though, the Lord took his son, just as He said He would. What was David’s response here? He cleaned himself up and then went to worship the Lord. David understood that even when we’ve messed up royally, we can come into the presence of the Lord and worship Him. God sees the part of us that is willing and desiring to follow Him and He focuses on that part of our heart. He delights in that part of our heart. God loves us dearly and takes delight in us, even in, especially in our weakness.
That was the difference between David and me. David knew that God saw that “yes” hidden deep within his heart even at his weakest point, whereas I thought God was too blinded by all the other stuff in my heart. Maybe in a way I was not even aware of that “yes” in my own heart. God saw what I could not and He has revealed to me the part of my heart that is most precious to Him.
What better friend can you ask for than that?
Dear Lord, We know you see the “yes” buried deep within our hearts. Please reveal to us that “yes” which You find so precious in each of us. Help us to learn to focus on beholding you instead of trying so hard to ‘become’ by our own strength. Your word says in Zephaniah (3:17) that You will take great delight in us, You will quiet us with Your love and You will rejoice over us with singing. Please make that real to each of us this week. Show us how to focus on You, show us how to search out Your heart, Your character and Your emotions during the time we spend in Your Word and during our prayer and worship times. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen