“Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness.." 1 Chronicles 29:17a (NASB)
I recently went on a trip up north and had the opportunity to speak with a fellow Christian woman. I love conversations that are Christ-centered, and faith-centered and I am frequently blessed to have them with other Believing women.
This particular conversation had to do with how God sees us. We see ourselves so differently than how others see us, isn't that true? I find it helpful to know how others see me; not to prop myself up or indulge in self-congratulations but to know if I am able to say as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ."
The reality is that God doesn't see us as we see ourselves. Even the worst opinion held about themselves by the worst person who ever lived does not equal what God sees for He sees the fullness of the blackest parts of our heart. He sees all the stuff we lie to ourselves about. He sees all the justifications, rationalizations, all the incredible wickedness we try and sometimes succeed in hiding from other people.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)
It is what God sees that is most important. This is why David prayed,
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)
It may be a terrifying thought to pray as David did; to ask God to search your heart and test your thoughts and see if there is any wicked way in you. I want to remind you that if you pray and ask or not the sin is still there, and God already sees it.
You might wonder what the point is of praying such a thing? If God is omniscient (and He is) why would I even have to ask God to search me? I submit to you that the point of asking is the willingness of the sinner to be laid bare before God. It reflects a heart of humble submission before a Holy God. It is a confession that you understand sin remains in your heart and that you desire to rid yourself of it.
Too often we try to eliminate sin ourselves, apart from God's help. We forget that it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can change at all!
Sadly, I find that many are simply too fearful to enter into this process with the Lord. There is such great fear they won't be able to bear up under what is revealed, and immense shame at things they know are there but don't want to acknowledge. Again I say that God is already aware of what lurks in the deep recesses of our hearts and His intention toward us is good. He has come to set the captives free!
Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. Psalm 26:2 (NASB)