February Blog Post

Heart Check

Have you ever prayed this prayer? As in really prayed this prayer? It is quite an appeal to God and if made with sincerity of heart, will leave you open, exposed and even vulnerable as He faithfully answers you. This may, in fact, be the very reason why we seldom pray this prayer, if ever at all. Unfortunately, we tend to equate our human interactions of being open, exposed and vulnerable to that of God. When we do this, we are afraid because at one point or another, when we attempted to be open and vulnerable with another person, we were hurt. When we exposed our weaknesses in hopes that we would not be judged or revealed, our opening was taken advantage of which has caused us to stay closed out of self-preservation. This is understandable. What is not understandable is behaving in the same manner with our Heavenly Father, our holy God.

God is incapable of the reactions we may receive from one another when we are truly transparent. Judgment, ridicule, condemnation, exposure, abandonment, or rejection, the list could go on. When God searches our hearts and we allow ourselves to be fully genuine in His presence, there is peace, freedom, love, acceptance, forgiveness, affirmation, gentle correction and more. All positive life giving responses. What does this have to do with worship? Well, God is holy, as we have already established. When we approach our holy God we must do so with reverence and humility. Part of this approach means acknowledging that we are sinful and need Him to cleanse us as we interact with Him. Only then, can we fully enjoy His presence.

This month of February, as we see heart shaped emojis floating around in celebration of romance and affection, I wonder if we can slow down a little to present our own hearts to God, the lover of our souls, as our affectionate sacrifice to Him. What does this look like practically? I am so glad you asked. Here are a few ways we can do this.

Before you come to God, to do anything, check yourself. Get in the habit of checking your own heart. Yes, we are to ask God to search our hearts and to show us things in there that need our attention, repentance or forgiveness, for example, but we should also be able to access our own hearts. This will allow us to develop the habit of being honest with ourselves and with God.

Chase after for transparency, not perfection. This heart presentation is not in any means an attempt to clean yourself up before you can go to God. It is actually a way in which you can go to God, just as you are, so that He can make you whole in His loving presence. By checking your own heart, you are taking the time to see yourself as you really are- an imperfect person, and to see God as He really is- a holy loving God. You can never be perfect before God, no one can. All you can do is be sincerely transparent and willing to let Him sing and wash over you.

Be honest with where you end and where God begins. One way that we withhold our heart and affection from God is by placing ourselves on the throne of our hearts. This throne is meant to be exclusively for God. When we withhold certain areas of our lives, thinking we know best or we have them under control without God’s hand, the lines get blurry. Pride creeps in and begins to harden our hearts. With suggestions that we are independent of God and running our own show, how can we possibly worship Him for who He truly is?

Pursue genuine relationship with God. In a genuine relationship, there is no room for fake. Trust is built by both parties being open and truthful. God has already done this concerning Himself. His word presents the truth about His character and intentions towards us and there is no falsehood in them. He is consistent and ever faithful, worthy of our complete trust. Though we cannot match His authenticity, we must, with all our being, present ourselves genuinely before Him. He already knows our innermost parts, His expectation is for you to willingly present them to Him. True worship demands this because you cannot fake a relationship with your maker.

Stay focused. Genuine presentation of your heart before the Lord requires you to keep your eyes fixed on Him. Remove all distractions, quiet your mind and allow yourself to truly engage with Him. The prayer we have seen in Psalm 139 depicts a two way interaction which should be the template for our relationship with God. We are not to approach Him robotically, but willingly, fully engaged and in anticipation that He will indeed meet with us.

Whether you are leading worship on a stage, sharing a message from God’s Word or sitting in the audience of a church gathering, you can present your heart to God. You can do this without fear because He is worthy of your trust. Allow Him to show you His heart as He searches yours. Let your time in worship be one of mutual affection and intimacy with our God who has loved you with an everlasting love.

I pray that as you meditate on this passage of scripture, it becomes a regular prayer for you, a lifeline of sorts. I pray that as we seek after God, He will show us ourselves and give us the grace to do any work required as He leads us on the path of everlasting life. May this month of love be one we look back on, many years from now, as being a milestone in our love and affection for the Lord our God.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, 
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”