Heart Test

Journal Entry // May 12, 2022

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV

What’s the purpose of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for forty years after being brought of the slavery of Egypt by a great and powerful showing of God’s mighty right hand? I’m sure the answer is multifaceted if you do an in-depth study, but a good summation of the wilderness wandering is here in this passage. The Lord used the 40-year wandering in the wilderness to humble the Israelites. To test their heart’s desire for obedience. To know what was in their heart. This feels so familiar to me because the Lord is truly leading me through my own wilderness in order to humble me.

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Complete Destruction

Journal Entry // May 9, 2022

and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.

Deuteronomy 7:2 ESV

This charge to the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land is a good reminder of my daily struggle and battle with sin dwelling in my heart. I don’t think that I take the call to personal holiness as a priority at times. Sure, I know this is absolutely true in the life of a believer. We should all be moving forward with personal holiness and seeking to fight the entanglement of sin in our life, but I often feel like it is a no-win situation. I come into the battle with particular sins with an attitude that I am going to fail. And sure enough I do fail. I fail each and every time because I am fully trusting in my own strength and ability to fight this battle with sin.

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Allegience to Caesar

Journal Entry // May 8, 2022

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

John 19:15 ESV

I have read and heard this passage so many times over the years that it loses a lot of its force because of familiarity. This is probably true of a lot of passages, but this one today really struck me hard. I find it so simple to sit back in my 21st century modernity and look upon these chief priests with judgement and contempt. I want to measure their response with a harsh line of judgement. To be fair, their response was terrible. Yet, how is my response any different sometimes? Sure, I have not publicly decried Jesus as king and declared my allegiance solely to the earthly leadership over me. But in my heart? That is quite a different matter.

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Home in My Heart

Journal Entry // April 27, 2021

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:23 ESV

Obedience is the natural outward inclination of a renewed and loving heart turned toward the Lord. If I truly love the Lord, then I will readily find obedience expressing itself in humble reliance upon the one I love. And the one I love, he will come and make their home with me. The Father, Son, and Spirit will make my heart his home and dwelling place.

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Feet Washing

Journal Entry // April 27, 2022

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

John 13:8 ESV

Peter in the Gospels is so often a mirror that reflects the inner thoughts and determination of my heart. He is generally the one that is not afraid to put into words the thoughts that are bouncing around in his head. This passage is no different. Jesus is demonstrating humility and the necessity of servant leadership. None of us are above the necessary role of serving others in our leading capacity, but this washing of the feet was a picture of our necessity to have a heart of repentance. Our bodies are clean if we are in Christ and have been cleansed of our sin through the washing of his blood in our life, but our feet get dirty as we continually walk in this world. We need a daily washing of our feet. We need a daily, humble repentance that keeps bringing us back to the grace and mercy of Jesus.

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Life of Humility

Journal Enry // April 3, 2022

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

1 Peter 3:8 ESV

This verse is a good reminder to me of what I am aiming for in my quiet time of reflection after reading God’s word. In this verse there is a call to engage my heart, soul, mind, and strength to love both my God and my neighbor. At the center of this verse is humility. And humility is the singular concept that the Lord has been beating into my head for the past couple of years. That probably sounds a bit harsh, but I feel it is definitely true. It’s true because of my extremely think head and heart. My mind and my heart continually rebel against this pattern of life. A life filled with humility is so contrary to the world and my very own nature. Yet, humility is what I need to embrace if I want to be like Jesus. He is my model of humility and if I want true joy and happiness in Him, then I will be humble in all areas of my life.

Unity of mind calls me, in humility, not to uniformity of thinking but to cooperation in the midst of diversity. In humbleness, I am to be mindful of other’s thoughts and opinions and work together with those who may differ from me in matters of how things are to be done. The how is not nearly as important as the what and the why. Humbleness calls me to value my fellow believer’s opinions and convictions, even when I do not agree with them completely. We can work together for the building up of God’s kingdom.

Sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart. These are all the outworking of a humble heart. A heart that places others ahead of itself. With unity of mind, I will have sympathy. With a humble heart, I will have brotherly love. And a tender heart always places the needs of others as a priority. I love the thought of a tender heart and this is the phrase I most often associate with Jesus. As I read the gospels, the tenderness of his heart just leaps off the page at me. I want this! I want to be known as a tender hearted person. This starts with humility.

If I am going to be humble, it must be in my heart but it must be in my mind as well. My thoughts inform my heart and my heart informs my thoughts. As I review the thoughts in my mind from yesterday or even last week, I realize that I have a long road ahead of me toward humbleness. Such a long road. My heart and mind crave to be the priority. My heart and mind desire to be the center of life. It is a constant battle to be humble. To be content. To be patient. To be kind. To have a tender heart. To have a gentle heart, just like my Savior.

Manifest Darkness

Journal Entry // March 18, 2022

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

Luke 8:17 ESV

The deception of the enemy is that the truth of this verse is not a reality in my life. Step one in the process of temptation is to convince my heart and mind that hidden sin will not be made manifest, nor will it ever come to light. For this is the first hurdle any deception must overcome to lure me into temptation. The enemy knows that there is yet darkness that lies hidden in my heart. Darkness that is dormant and hidden even from my own self, as well as darkness that I have hidden in the corners of my heart. It is all of this sin and darkness that will be made manifest in light of the gospel. As the Lord brings the gospel into my heart, it illuminates and reveals those dark sinful areas of my heart. First making them manifest to myself to bring repentance and humility to my heart.

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Good & Evil Treasure

Journal Entry // March 13, 2022

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 ESV

What is the barometer that we can use to measure the state of our heart? Surely it is from this statement that Jesus wants to warn and inform us about the type of treasure being stored in our heart. It is from this treasure within our heart that produces the visible fruit of words and actions that the world sees. Our measuring rod to indicate the status of our heart is simply our words and actions that flow out of the abundance in our heart.

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Revealing His Own Heart

Journal Entry // March 11, 2022

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

Exodus 34:6 ESV

When the Lord our God passes before Moses and proclaims the name of the Lord, he reveals that the heart of God is full of mercy and grace, patient, and abounding in a love and faithfulness that is unwavering. That is only the beginning of his description, but even this is far too deep for me this morning. There in the heart of the Lord’s description of himself I see Jesus. We tend to think that Jesus and the God of the Old Testament are different in character. That God was full of wrath in the Old Testament and Jesus is meek and mild in the New. What are we missing when we think this way? We miss the heart of God, for when you see Jesus, you have seen the Father.

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Unwavering Heart

Journal Entry // April 10, 2021

My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!

Psalm 108:1 ESV

Steadfast = resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

This verse gives me hope, but maybe not in the way that one would tend to think. My hope is buoyed from this verse as I think and reflect that David wrote this Psalm and was able to say this about his own heart. David, a man after God’s own heart, was able to say about his heart that it was steadfast. My hope arises as I remember that David did not live a perfect life nor a life that was not tainted by sin, fear, shame, guilt. David was a man that struggled in his heart to be faithful to our Lord just as I do. David was rebuked by the Lord for the sin in his waywardness, just as I have been. David failed at times to live up to the standard and calling that the Lord had given him, just as I have. Yet David can say that his heart is steadfast.

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