This verse was in my daily reading today in my continued trek through the Old Testament. It has always been one of my favorites, and I have memorized it. I have pondered the meaning of that verse, especially the "perfect heart" part.
God searches the earth for godly men. The story of Noah in Genesis chapter 6 unveils a very wonderful example of this truth. God scanned the lands looking for any goodness that would give Him joy in what He had made. He saw nothing but wickedness, and He was brokenhearted. He was even sorry that He had made man. In verse 8 there is a glimmer of hope, for a man named Noah was found to be righteous. God saw his heart. He was a pleasure to the Lord!
I believe that God still searches for people whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
My family likes to work on puzzles together. :-) Sometimes we are looking for just one particular piece to finish a specific portion of the puzzle. Our eyes are straining... searching for that one perfect piece that will fit. Out of hundreds of pieces, we are looking for something that stands out.
So what does the perfect heart look like to God, I wonder? Out of all of the thousands of people roaming this planet, when God the Father looks for a "heart perfect toward Him", how should it stand out? What is the picture stamped on that heart, like the sought after puzzle piece, that allows God to see it?
Certainly God does not require that our hearts be "perfectly perfect" in order for Him to show us His great power in our lives. The definition of perfect is: "without defect or blemish, faultless." This certainly could not define our hearts!
Are our hearts....ever perfect in this life? I don't think so. Are we not still in a great struggle of good and evil, right and wrong every single day? Paul states this very principle in his letter to the Galatians.
"For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has His way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures."
Does this sound like a heart that is "perfect toward God? No!
I turned to II Peter to try and grasp what this "perfect heart" position would look like.
"Do you want more and more of God's kindness and peace? Then learn to know Him better and better. For as you know Him better, He will give you, through His great power, everything you need for living a truly good life; He even shares His own glory and His own goodness with us! And by that same mighty power He has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings He promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us His own character. But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what He wants you to do. Next learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have His own way with you. This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply. The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ." (II Peter 1:2-8)
Wow! If we look back to the reference on Noah, we read that "he always tried to conduct his affairs according to God's will." (Gen 6:10)
Now here was a man who must have "worked hard to be good...and learned to know God better." We know he certainly "discovered what God wanted him to do, as God gave him through HIS great power everything he needed for living a truly good life."
This lifelong journey of a heart being shaped and sanctified is a step by step, day by day progression. As the Father and the Holy Spirit work together, this is what I believe a "heart perfect toward God" must look like.
Have you ever felt at times that your heart is just not good enough to catch God's attention as He is searching for those "outstanding children" who give Him joy in His creation?
Do you ever feel the motives hidden deep in your heart that drive your actions are less than perfect under God's scrutiny?
"The heart is the most deceitful thing there is and desperately wicked. No one can really know how bad it is! Only the Lord knows! He searches all hearts and examines deepest motives so He can give to each person His right reward, according to His deeds - how he has lived." (Jer. 17:9-10)
Do you ever wish that you could get a grip on how to really know God better so that you could discover what He wants you to do?
Would you confess that you don't always (first time around) try to conduct your daily affairs according to God's will?
Be challenged by the words of Brother Lawrence,
"Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest! Let us cast everything besides out of our hearts. He would possess them alone. Beg this favor of Him. If we do what we can on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after." (The Practice of the Presence of God)
In other words, let's intentionally be committed to our Lord. Let's get rid of anything that occupies our heart and our attentions more than God, for He is a jealous God and does not wish to share our devotion. If we plead our cause...if we act on the convictions of our hearts, we will see and experience His presence, His great power and His everlasting love that we seek.
The bottom line is: When God's eyes are sweeping across Charlotte, I want them to pick up on a heart that resides on Woodberry Road...a heart that is "standing out" in the crowds of mediocre and second-rate faith. I want my heart to be passionate, in such a way that it is on fire, and it lights up the spot where God's eyes stop as He considers and weighs my heart-motives! I want the reward of knowing that He saw a "perfect heart", bent toward Him with ALL diligence and desire to give Him honor and joy!!!
See our hearts, Lord, as you search back and forth... Step by step, give us a more perfect heart that pleases you. Give us reassurance that you are a patient and loving Father who knows exactly where we are in our growing journey, and always loves us with an everlasting love.