Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Secrets of the Heart

“…he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
Psalm 44:21

If you had one whole day to do anything you like, what would you do? If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy? If you could spend twenty-four hours with anyone in the world, with whom would you spend them?

Do you know anything more intimate than the heart? Jeremiah said of our heart, “who can know it?”

Matthew 15:18, 19 says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”

I’m afraid we spend too much time fixing family relationships, when in reality we should be focusing our attention on relationships between children and God…between husband and God…and between ourselves and God.

I maintain that if you have an intimate relationship with the Lord, you’ll have a good intimate relationship with your husband. If you work on having an intimate relationship with God, you’ll be the Mom He wants you to be, no matter what human authors tell us, who struggle with their own marriages, and have rebellious children.

The word intimate means interior, internal; that which comes from within. And when we apply that to our relationship with God, it takes on a very special meaning, because God is Spirit. John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

How is your secret life? Have you ever asked yourself, “Who am I?” My pastor used to say, “The real You stands up when you’re all alone.” And that’s true. Do you want to know how your secret life is? When no one’s with you, what do you do? What do you watch? What do you read? What do you think about?

How did you answer the questions at the beginning of this devotional? If you answer honestly those three questions, I’ll tell you how your intimate relationship is with the Lord, with your husband, and with your children.

I’m convinced that if we keep our secret life clean and pure, we’ll have better marriages.

My son, Philip, preached a sermon once titled, “You Don’t Know Me.” I don’t know you. Only God really knows us.

I personally believe that every woman needs to have time alone every day with the Lord. For me, at least, that time is early in the morning, before the phone and doorbell start ringing. I guard that time jealously for the Lord. I have fellowship with Him, and He with me. This is a time that I purposely reserve for the Lord. I plan everything I’m going to do during that time. My mind is fresh, free from the burdens and pressures of the day. I’m usually in a good mood during the first hours of the day.

But sometimes the Lord gives me surprise times alone with Him, times I hadn’t planned. It’s during that time that my real character comes forth.

There are things that we do in the secret places of our heart, of our homes, in our bedrooms that are not pleasing to God. Marriages today aren’t failing because husbands don’t take their wives out to eat once a week, or because it’s been a year since he brought her flowers. Marriages are falling apart because of what happens in the secret places of our lives.

There are secret places in our minds, places we reserve for Satan: bad thoughts, inappropriate desires. Those thoughts and desires don’t stay in our minds; they become looks, glances, gestures, and then words, and finally adultery. It all started in the secret places of our hearts.

What can we do to clean out those dirty corners of our hearts, and our minds? What can we do to have an intimate relationship with God?

1. Live by principles, and not emotions. Don’t let your mood affect your decisions. Did you know that’s why we have weight problems? We feel lonely, or sad, or depressed, and what do we do? We eat. We work hard, and at the end of the day we reward ourselves with food. If you live according to principles, and you’re sad or lonely or depressed, and one of your principles says, “Thou shalt not eat chocolates,” you won’t use food as a cushion, or a security blanket. I know women who are overweight, and apparently they don’t eat a lot…in public. But what about when they’re alone?

2. Live by schedules and routine. You shouldn’t let your emotions determine what time you get up, or what you do once you’re up. I once heard a famous pastor say, “I thank the Lord there’s a place I have to be, and a time I should be there, and something to do once I arrive.” A schedule gives you purpose, and helps you to stay focused. It gives you direction and motivation. Avoid the necessity of having to make decisions. Remember, the fewer decisions you have to make, the fewer wrong decisions you’ll make.
3. Choose carefully your friends. You don’t have to be a young person in order for others to have an influence on you. The saying, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are,” doesn’t apply only to young people. It’s possible for a woman to have a good relationship with the Lord in her intimate life, but because of a negative influence, she can harm that relationship…the most important relationship a woman can have.
4. In order to have an intimate relationship with the Lord, you should reserve time alone with the Lord every day, preferably in the mornings. Don’t plan that time according to your emotions, or your mood. Plan a routine, in a private place. Ask the Lord, before you open your Bible, to speak to you through His Word, and to help you to be obedient to it. Ask Him to convict you of your sins through your reading, to comfort and guide you, and to show you a truth you’ve never seen before. And He’ll do it.

5. Remember, God desires an intimate relationship with you more than you desire it. He waits for you every day.

If you don’t know the Lord as your personal Savior, you don’t have a relationship with Him. In order to have a relationship with someone, you must know them. We know the Lord through His Son, Who died on the cross for our sins.

There’s a positive side to our lesson. Did you know God knows the secret longings of your heart? He knows the desires of your heart, the desire we have for a lost loved one to be saved, or a desire to be able to reach a goal. If you’re single, share with the Lord your desire for a husband and a home. Maybe your heart’s desire is for a baby, or the ability to win others to the Lord. Share that longing with the One who can make your dreams come true.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23, 24


Rachel Winkler said...

Thank you for the devotional. It challenged me in very specific ways. What a special blessing to be reminded of these truths. I want to always grow in my relationship with God, my husband, my children, and others.

Jolene said...

Thank you, Mom! This is such a convicting post... I pray that I can be the same person at all times... that I can be a good Christian even when no one is watching. I love you!