|Vol. 15 No. 1 January 2013||
Those of us who have evangelistic courage for the lost and continuing concern for the unfaithful probably have heard the title of this article in defense of their lifestyle choices. When questioned or challenged about accountability, God “knowing their hearts” is often the response.
“I know I need to change my life, but God knows my heart.” “I know judgment is coming, but God knows my heart.” “I know I should be in worship every Sunday, but God knows my heart.” “I know I should be reading and studying my Bible every day, but God knows my heart.” I know I should be spending more time in prayer, but God knows my heart.”
The remainder of the space that is available for this article could be used in quoting those kinds of statements, but that is not the purpose. If people understood what self-indicting statements they are making, they would not feel so free to use it in an attempt to validate their self-willed, self-seeking, self-serving mind-set. Why? James 4:17 declares, “To him that knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Do they “know” that?
Speaking of God, Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart; I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” How sobering and convicting!
We need to understand that Satan too knows the desires and weaknesses of our hearts. He is just waiting for his opportunity to enter the heart. Satan entered Judas, and he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains on how he might betray Jesus Christ to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money (Luke 22:1-5). Why? Satan knew greed for money was Judas’s uncontrolled weakness. Luke 22:6 says, “So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.” When the dastardly deed was done, Judas had to face the consequences alone – he paid with his life!
Ananias and his wife Sapphira conceived in their hearts to lie about the proceeds for land they had sold. Peter asked him point blank: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” (Acts 5:3). Satan used their willingness to lie – they both paid with their lives! Was it worth it? Did Satan care?
Satan still uses our desires and weaknesses against us; his tool of choice is deception. Perhaps there is nothing worse than self-deception in believing God is pleased with our deeds. Paul warned of this in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
What is the answer to avoid being deceived, devoured and destroyed? It’s found in God’s Word as all answers are in fighting our #1 enemy, Satan. Our reliance must always be and remain on God at all times no matter what the situation is that we are facing. Vacillating between dependence on God and ourselves or somebody else is deadly! This is a lesson King Asa did not learn very well. In one situation, he relied completely on God; in another circumstance he relied on the king of Syria. God’s seer reminded Asa that the Ethiopians and the Lubim were huge armies with many chariots and horseman, yet God delivered them into his hand. Then Asa was told in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” What a price to pay – it was deadly!
This declaration made King Asa angry! He put the seer in prison because he was enraged at him because of this. What is the answer for us when we find ourselves out of favor with God? We must first acknowledge that we are wrong; and then, we must pray as David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
We must pray as Solomon prayed at the dedication of that glorious Temple: “Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men” (2 Chronicles 6:29-30).
Yes, God above all others knows our hearts. God looks at our hearts. “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). God’s Word is a discerner of our thoughts and the intents of our hearts, and we must give account. “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. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12). God sees and knows everything about our inner heart, the core of our being.