Today's post comes from Anita at Scattering the Stones
'Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.'
Psalm 51:10 NASB ®
As I prayed for God to lead me to share His message for this post today, I was inspired by the book that my husband and I are re-reading together at the moment; 'Improving Your Serve' by Charles R. Swindoll. Charles looks at the call from our Saviour, to lead an unselfish life; to have a servant's heart. His book is led by his search to understand the following verse -
'For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'
Mark 10:45 NIV
If you stopped and truly considered your heart, would you say your focus was on pleasing people or God?
I dearly want to have a servant's heart; to follow Jesus in how He lived in this world with a pure heart; His whole motive was to glorify His Father, and I want to do the same.
Charles R. Swindoll said -
'When Jesus took the time to explain His reason for coming among us, He was simple and direct:to serve and to give. Not to be served. Not to grab the spotlight in the center ring.Not to make a name or attract attention or become successful or famous or powerful or idolized.No, quite frankly, that stuff turned Him off.' p11
When we look at the Psalm 51:10 verse, David was asking God to help create within him, a clean, pure heart; from something that was unclean, separated from God. As a part of his desire for a clean heart, his prayer was also for his spirit to remain steadfast - firm, grounded on the truth; to resist temptation.
It is only when we come to God and present ourselves before Him, that our hearts will be renewed; where our old self dies and we are made into a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), because of the power of the cross and ultimate sacrifice of our Saviour. As we open our hearts to be cleansed by the power of the Holy Spirit, our heart's desire, emotions, feelings, motives, begin a new journey to be made right, through our relationship with our Jesus.
In everything we do, we need to examine our motives.
'People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.'
Proverbs 16:2 NLT
As I contemplate on this verse, I am compelled to ask the Lord to show me anything that is not of Him, in my heart -
'Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.'
Psalm 26:2 NLT
Is God asking you to make a stand for Him, that would be unpopular in the world's eyes?
As we search for His will for our lives, He asks us to love one another, as Jesus showed us (2 Jn 1:6). When we seek the face of our God, we need to consider what is truly behind our prayers. Are we seeking His will and whatever that entails, or are we purely looking for a comfortable life? In our humaness, we hope to have a life free of troubles, we may be weary from pain whether physical, or emotional, but when we take up the cross and focus on what God wants, our prayers will be in-line with the life Jesus calls us to, as a part of His perfect plan.
As I read through the book of James, this verse sprung from the pages -
'Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.'
James 4:17 NLT
To seek a true servant's heart as demonstrated by the ministry of Jesus, looking for earthly rewards isn't an option; if we seek friendship with the world we become enemies of God (Jas 4:4). We need to listen and obey the commands of our Creator.
'God opposes the proud but favours the humble.'
James 4:6 NLT
When we serve, our focus should not be about looking for a pat on the back from others. God wants us to draw close to Him; as in this He will draw close to us (Jas 4:8). When we humble ourselves before Him, He lifts us up (Jas 4:10).
'I finally realized that things like my circumstances or what other people think don't define me. Instead, I could tie my happiness to the reality of who my heavenly Father says I am.' P126
In our transparency, in how we deal with life day by day and choose to honour His name in all circumstances, the opinion of the world will no longer matter, as all we will desire, is God's opinion.
In our journey towards servanthood in Christ, there will be pain along the way, people will not always see what we do, we may well be forgotten by others, we will probably find ourselves being placed to oneside or put down, but our God - El Roi, sees everything; as His eyes searches for His faithful people (2 Ch 16:9).
The King of Kings provides us with all that we need; let us allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts (Col 3:15). He will counsel and instruct us (Ps 16:8). He hears our distress and answers our prayers (Ps 118:5). He will give us strength to resist temptation (Jas 4:7) and His grace is sufficient for us in our weakness (2 Cor 12).
As Charles R Swindoll had a card with the words 'What's your motive?' written on it to help him look at everything he did, thought, prayed and said, I think I will join him and make a card for myself. For when others seek to put me down for what God has placed on my heart, all that should matter is what He thinks of me. When I feel myself slipping, I am reminded to give my burdens to my heavenly Father, and know that He will take care of me (Ps 55:22). When God tells me to do something, I need to do it, without thought being given to what people will think of me.
My hope is to have a pure, clean, servant's heart; for my motives to be in-line with my Father's will. I will praise Him for all the days of my life and worship Him.
Please join me today in handing over anything that is not of God in our lives, as we hunger and thirst after His will.
'For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News.
Our purpose is to please God, not people.
He alone examines the motives of our hearts.'
1 Thess 2:4 NLT
Let's prayFather I come before you today, please examine and test my heart.
If there is anything that is not of you, please help me to work through this with you.
I ask for your forgiveness, for the things I have put before you.
My desire is for a clean, steadfast heart that stands firm on your promises.
Please help me to look at my motives, in everything I do.
May my life bring glory to your Holy name, for you are El Roi - God who sees all.
Help me to not lean on my own understanding and the approval of others, but to follow your commands that are pleasing to you.
Open my eyes, unclutter my heart, for I want to listen to the whispers of Your heart.
Please show me Your will, open the doors for me to go through, to spread Your Good News.
In Jesus' name
Author: Charles R. Swindoll, Book: Improving Your Serve, Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 1991. Page 11
Author: Lysa Terkeurst, Book: Made to Crave Devotional, Publisher: Zondervan 2011, Page 126
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB and NLT
Image: © Nita Joy Designs