When I was a senior in highschool, I couldn’t wait to go to college. I had this sense in my gut that going off to college was going to be a crucial growth point in my life. For months leading up to my departure, I would plan out how to decorate my dorm room, and what new, cool, college clothes and school supplies I needed to buy in preparation. I would pack these items in storage containers under my bed, and whenever I would get antsy for school to start, I would pull them out and look at all of my college “supplies”. I would unpack them and repack them, over and over again throughout the summer. Yes, a little weird and as I’m writing this, maybe a little obsessive, but it was my little way of preparing myself for college.
When school finally started that fall, my dorm room did indeed look awesome. I felt confident in my collegiate fashion choices, and I was always prepared with the right school supplies for class. What did surprise me though was that those things didn’t seem nearly as important to me as they once did. Instead a deeper desire grew within me as I entered college. A desire to know my greater purpose. A desire to know who I really was and what I was meant to live for.
It boiled down to a deep yearning to know Jesus more.
I began to pray for someone more experienced to help me along my spiritual journey. Someone to show me the way.
My prayers were answered as I began attending a small group and within the first couple of weeks one of the leaders asked if she could disciple me.
We began meeting up weekly to talk about Scripture and how to follow Jesus. It was amazing! When I think back on those first months of discipleship I have such fond memories. One is of the chicken caesar salad I used to get at Chili’s on campus where we met. The second is more substantive and it is the question she would frequently ask:
“How is your heart?”
No one had ever asked me that before. It seemed a little intrusive and abstract. My heart? Honestly, I had no idea how my heart was.
But my friend was onto something and, looking back, I am so appreciative. The Bible has a lot to say about the heart.
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart."
"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander."
1 Samuel 16:17
"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Who knew that there was so much going on in my heart and that it was so important to the Lord?
The Scripture that really got me was from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“They shall see God”, described the yearning inside of me. I want to see God! I want to know him! I want to understand his ways and grow in my knowledge and worship of him.
But how can I be pure in heart? I knew the evil inside of me, my tendency to judge, to have unbelief, to try to do things in my own strength. How could God rid me of those things and make me pure?
Well, it’s a journey and we are never going to be perfect. But here are two imperatives for me to keep a pure heart before God.
The Word of God
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
As I meditate upon Scripture and allow it to shape my life, the Holy Spirit will use it to reveal to me the condition of my heart. That’s amazing! I don’t have figure out what is going on inside of me, God will use his word to show me.
The Work of Jesus
But what do you do once God reveals the condition of your heart to you?
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
You can trust in what Jesus has done on the cross. As you confess, in his faithfulness he not only forgives you but also cleanses you. He is the one that makes your heart pure so that you can see and know Him.
God’s brought me a long way since those days of packing and repacking in my bedroom, but one question has stuck with me all this time. It’s the same question that I ask you now, how is your heart?