One morning recently I made myself a cup of tea and poured in a dash of milk as usual. However, when I started to drink, I discovered that the milk was off and it had made the whole cup of tea taste horrible! I had to start the process again, this time with some fresh milk. It had been only a very small amount of sour milk, but it had spoiled the taste of the whole cup. This made me think about how easily the purity of our hearts can be spoiled when we allow in even just a little bit of sourness in the form of resentment, bitterness, criticism or other wrong attitudes.
In today’s verses from Psalm 139, David asks the Lord to search his heart and, in the words of the New Living Translation, to ‘point out anything that offends’. It’s not just the sourness of wrong attitudes that can defile our hearts, but also anything unclean that we’ve been focussed on. Jesus says in Matthew 5:28 that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Wrong sexual thoughts and fantasies can defile our hearts, as can anything that we’ve made into an idol in our lives – greed for financial gain, material possessions, status, or worldly ambition. All these will take our focus off the Lord and bring impurity into our hearts.
Pride can also pollute our hearts. God warns His people in Deuteronomy 8 about the danger of their hearts becoming proud once they have entered the Promised Land. He warns them that, when things are going well with them, they may forget the Lord, and decide that it’s their own strength that’s achieved all the success they’re enjoying. Let’s be careful not to fall into this trap ourselves.
Keeping our hearts pure not only honours God and enables deeper intimacy with Him, but it also helps to ensure that, no matter what comes our way, we’ll be able to remain steadfast and secure. Psalm 112:6-8, speaking about anyone who fears the LORD, says: ‘Surely he will never be shaken … He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear’.
Let’s ask God to search our hearts today, and change them so we can be more like Him in all our behaviour, responses and reactions.
Prayer: Lord, please come and search my heart today and show me anything that offends You. Please help me to get rid of all wrong attitudes and anything else that is spoiling my heart. Please change me and make my heart strong and steadfast, set apart wholly for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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