“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
The closer and closer I get to the Lord, the more time I spend with Him, the deeper I dig into and feast on His Word, the more I know Him, the more He changes me, the more I surrender myself to Him, the stronger His presence in me, the more I sense His presence, the more I am flooded with His Spirit, the more I hear Him, the louder His voice seems to be, the stronger His conviction comes when I am out of His will, right down to my very thoughts, like the day He spoke to me about this.
I had had an idea about something I had really felt I needed to do in my ministry work. Something big. Something I had thought about on and off for a long time. The idea had returned. I went so far as to ask a big bunch of people to pray about it. Then I decided to dive in and start researching how I could move ahead with my idea. I had such a strong sense about this. Surely it must have been the Lord. Yet each time I tried to take a step or two forward in researching possibilities, it was as though the Spirit of God threw His loving arms around me and strongly, like a lifeguard throwing his arms around a child just before the child went too far out in the water, grabbed me and returned me to shore. Why? Wasn’t the Lord the one leading me with this idea?
What happened? There was nothing wrong with the idea on my heart. But what was totally wrong was my heart. My motive. My thinking about it. My reason for it. He showed me the PRIDE in my heart. I had made the idea about me. Not about Him. Not about others. I wanted to satisfy myself. I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to move ahead for me. Not because He was telling me to go forward. Not to help more people. Not to bless people. Not to love others. To love myself. To make myself feel better. I was astonished about what had been hidden in my heart. I hadn’t seen or been aware of any of these motives. But the Spirit of God surely had! And He in His infinite love and wisdom knew that letting me move forward with my ministry idea with my heart all wrong would have caused great harm and ultimately been fruitless. Did He want me to go ahead with the idea? Was the idea His as I thought it might be? Surely He would show me, but I knew the next step I needed to take was not to move forward in researching possibilities but to repent of the sins in my heart, and of the few steps I had taken, to turn to Him, to wait on Him, and to trust Him to show me if and how and when He wanted me to proceed.
The Lord isn’t just concerned with the state of our actions. He’s also concerned with the state of our hearts. And my heart, as His Spirit showed me that day, needed to be purged and purified.
Please think about this. Can you relate? We must not only bring our actions before the Lord. We need to take our hearts before the Lord. In all ways, we need to be pure for Him, and when we are not, to purify ourselves so we are.