Friday, August 11, 2006

God's Heart

In Acts chapter 13 God says through the apostle Paul that David was ,"a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all My will". The heart of God. What does that really mean? Does it mean a dry and perfunctory obedience to God's Word? The patriarch David surely could not fulfill that definition. Did David have faults? Did David commit sin? Did David sometimes go against God's will? Did David sometimes submit to his own lusts? Yes, David was as infinitely sinful as you and I are, but David was filled with a PASSION to see, hear, and know God's heart.

Now, before we can pursue God's heart we must know what it is. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of David more than any other person in the Bible. The first sentence in the New Testament says..."Jesus Christ, the son of David". The last reference in Revelation 22:16 says, "I am the root and offspring of David". Why is the New Testament filled with references to David in reference to our Lord? Because David was a man after God's heart. Now most Christians are not really interested in full time discipleship. Notice I didn't say full time ministry, I said full time discipleship. A disciple seeks God's heart.

What is God's heart. Well, let's look at it this way, what is in your heart is who you REALLY are. We have heard people say things they say they don't mean. We have seen people exposed as murderers who led seemingly normal lives. As they are arrested, their neighbors exclaim, "We never really knew him". Why? Because they only knew him outwardly, they did not know what was inside him. They did not know his heart. Well God's heart is who He really is. It shares with us who He is, what He feels, how He loves, the depths of His Word, and other attributes that cannot be fully described in words. But our wonderful Lord holds His heart as precious and He will not just share the intimacy of His incredible heart to just anyone. Do you share your heart with anyone? What if you shared fully your heart with the convenience store attendant? The grocery clerk? The vet? Why not? Because there are parts of who you really are and think and feel that are only for certain people. It is precious to you.

That it how it is with God. If you just want to punch your heaven ticket and be satisfied with knowing God in a saving way but never seek His heart, you can do that(I think). Millions do that. But there is a Spiritual life of incredible depth that you are missing. While you, like Martha, are in this world's kitchen, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus as He shares His heart with Her. Anything of any value takes passion, and God's heart is at the top of that list. Watch the medical student stay up nights, work part time, sacrifice a social life, and other hardships that his passion for his career overcomes. Watch the salesman make a thousand phone calls, endure unpleasant people, work through dry spells, and many other hardships that his passion for sales overcomes. Watch as the pregnant mother gets sick for months, carries a lot of extra weight, goes to the doctor, endures a painful delivery, and a thousand other hardships that her passion for having a child overcomes.

But watch the disciple who seeks God's heart pray at inconvenient times, read the Word as if he is starving, call on Christ to reveal his heart, worship Him openly in public and private times, seeks God in seasons of fasting, and other avenues in which he hears the Lord's voice beckon him. He or she is not satisfied with mulling around the outer court sharing about the brazen altar and even the brazen laver. He or she is not even satisfied with quietly entering the Holy Place and experience the bread, the light, and even the altar of incense. But the disciple sees the smoke from the incense cascade upward and over the veil and he asks, "This is wonderful, but where does that incense go?". And with that God responds, "Do you want to see?". He cautiously answers, "Yes". The Spirit now asks, "Are you willing to forsake all?". He hesitates as he contemplates the meaning and the implications of that question. He thinks about who He was before Calvary. He remembers the indescribable joy of first meeting the Savior and he remembers growing in the knowledge of Him and the wonder of it all. But now God is asking him to forsake all. Is he willing to, by faith, agree to that and trust his Savior with any implications? He looks around and he sees many of his friends have left and gone back to the safety of the outer court.

Empowered by the same Spirit that asked the question he replies, "Yes, I forsake all". He feels an immediate and irresistible need to pray. He falls on his face in worship and as he looks up he finds the opening in the veil, ripped from top to bottom since that sacred Passover two thousand years ago. As he continues in prayer he is, by no power of his own, moving through the veil. What did he see in the Holy of Holies? Those who, by His grace, have been inside the veil cannot describe it, it is precious, personal, and far beyond human words. The disciple who has followed Jesus' footsteps into the glory of God comes out changed and with a lifelong desire to return as often as possible. This world has no attraction for him anymore, it is dung. Does this disciple enjoy food? Entertainment? Fellowship? Sports? Yes, he enjoys some of that, but it has lost its luster. There is in him or her a sound that comes in a frequency that is high above the hearing of earthly ears and he faintly hears the throngs in heaven praising the King, and the heavenly choirs, and he desires to be there, "which is far better".

O yes, the heart of God. It "beats" for us. God wants you to "come and dine" and let Him share, course by course, His eternal heart that is a "pearl of great price". Do you feel a desire? A hunger? Well, something must change or you will be the same at this time next year. Seek His heart with all YOUR heart. It is a journey that, on many levels, the destination permeates the pursuit. If you don't fully understand, you will, as soon as you take the first step. It will be, "One small step for the outer man, but one giant leap for the Spirit man!!! If you can live without it, you will. But if you become desperate, desperate enough that others will see something in you that they may not fully understand the Lord will reward you with Himself. He is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY seek Him.

Like the Levites of old, our inheritance is far greater than gates of pearls or streets of gold. Our inheritance is Jesus Himself for we shall see Him as he is. Let this world pass us by. Jesus we seek You and Your heart, for You and You alone are worthy of our pursuit. Amen and Amen.


Mike Ratliff said...

Good post Rick. Those of us who do read the Word as if starving and pray at inconvenient times because we Love the Lord our God with all our Mind and all our Heart and all our Being are those the Lord has drawn into this walk by faith. Let's rejoice and and dedicate ourselves to draw even closer to the one whose Heart does beat for us.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

JT333 said...

The greatest love story ever told. He is so incredibly worthy... "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:1-8

Charlei said...

I listed the astrological sign because it was one of the things in the profiles. Don't worry I don't "live by my horoscope" or anything like that.

So why did you pick the name "Baptist" as a "Christian?" I'm always curious why people decide on so many different ways of naming themselves besides or in addition to the ways the people of the Bible did, though John the Baptist was a baptist because he baptized people to show the coming of Christ and his baptism...Just curious.

luvvom said...

Very good post with lots of meat to enjoy! I was thinking of the persecuted church while reading this post. Most of them seek God's heart every moment of their lives. What treasures they have enjoyed. That is what helps them through the suffering they face every moment of their lives. I experience this once in awhile. I have to admit that it is not daily because of my sinful nature. God is faithful and will help me continue on this path. Thank you, Rick!

terrilynn said...

What an awesome post, I remember walking through the mall last week and it felt as if I were walking through the flames of hell. Surrounded by the pointing fingers of accusations, and the fleshly come hithers offering to assuage the accusations. Yes indeed, this world quickly loses its appeal when seen through the eyes of the Son of David. Oh that we would all have the passion of David to seek after God's own heart!

God bless you,

Sherry said...

Wonderful post. reminds me of
1 Corinthians 2:10