“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
“Police! We have a search warrant. Open up!” Have those words ever been hurled in your direction? Most likely not. For the vast majority of us, those scenes only happen on television.
But when we look at our spiritual lives, we continuously have Someone who issues and carries out search warrants − whether we realize or not. God, our Creator, does not need permission to search the created. He has full authority to conduct repeated, thorough, exhaustive, and painstaking investigations of our hearts.
Why does God search our hearts? In Biblical language, the heart is the center of the human spirit where thoughts, emotions, motivations, courage and actions generate.
But wait, don’t thoughts generate from our brain? Our brain reacts to feelings that we experience in our heart. When we feel hurt, our brain generates angry thoughts or actions. When homicide detectives investigate a residential murder, who do they normally interview first? The family. Our emotional connections with those we love plays out in our actions − both good and bad.
It takes a strong Christian to embrace God’s scrutiny of our hearts. Welcoming heart searches is a necessary step to spiritual growth and maturity.
We see in Psalm 139 that David embraced and faced God’s examination with eager expectation. There’s an important distinction between verses 1 and 23. In verse 1, David acknowledges that God has searched him. In verse 23 (above), David invites God to continue to do so!
That takes courage because we hide ugly things in our heart. Just think over your thoughts and motivations over the past few days. How many would you not want to be made public?
We tend to hide those ugly thoughts and feelings in rooms within our heart and lock the door. But just like a smoking section in a restaurant, those ugly thoughts and feelings seep into the rest of our heart. Especially if we’ve experienced a deep hurt.
Is there a specific part of your heart where you are deliberately shutting out God?
David acknowledged and took refuge in the fact that God’s sight is infinitely clearer than his own. When we expose the dark recesses of our heart to God, He cleanses and heals us from the inside out. When was the last time you willingly asked God to search your heart? Now is as good a time as any.
DONNA PYLE is a speaker, author, Bible teacher and worship leader with a passion for studying and teaching God’s Word. Since launching Artesian Ministries in 2007, she has authored 20 full-length Bible studies, as well as numerous smaller Bible studies, devotions, and magazine articles. She has released two DVD-based Bible study series and a small-group based Bible study book, The God of All Comfort, through Concordia Publishing House on August 15, 2012. She regularly travels throughout the U.S. and internationally, speaking at conferences, conventions, women’s retreats, prayer luncheons, and special events. Read more about Donna at her website.