3/2/06

Encouragement for Today

 

“An Ugly Ol’ Heart” – Part 2

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

1 Chronicles 28:9, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.  If you seek him, he will be found by you; by if you forsake him, he will reject you.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

In yesterday’s devotion, we addressed the issue of having an ugly ol’ heart toward God about something He is calling us to do.  I shared with you part of a story where my husband and I found ourselves with a little extra money.  I wanted to use it to buy new curtains for our kitchen, but he wanted to use if for ministry.  I was against this idea and fought the endeavor tooth and nail so that I could have my curtains.  They were important to me and to the way I felt in my home.  I even used Scripture to back it up.  Notice those last few sentences include a lot of “I’s” and “me’s,” referring to my selfish attitude about the situation. 

 

After battling with my husband and pushing him to defer to my request, I happened to look in the mirror and find myself with a sour, pinched look on my face.  The ugliness of my heart had manifested itself in my countenance – thus “winning” my battle held little true joy for me.  However, I wasn’t about to be deterred and decided that all I needed was a little makeup and all would be well again.

 

Here’s what happened:  I reached underneath my sink where my makeup bag resides, but it was gone.  Then I felt God speak to my heart.  He told me no amount of makeup would help what was wrong with me, and would not let me find it until I got back on track.  I know it seemed ridiculous to think that God would hide my makeup bag on purpose, but I searched the entire house and both cars and it wasn’t to be found!  All the while God’s Voice continued to tug and convict my heart.

 

What resulted was a revelation that my heart was sick because my motives were all about me, me, me!  All I could think about was what I would do with that money inside my home.  What I hadn’t pondered was all that God could do with that money both inside and outside of our home. 

 

Inside, He would bring peace and blessing to myself, my husband, and our family for investing in the Kingdom.  Outside, He could use it to bring others into a loving relationship with Him.  Instead, division between my husband and I resulted and never once did I stop to consider the beautiful thing God was doing in Art’s heart by giving him the desire to share more abundantly.

 

The second half of today’s key verse is a great reminder of two very important things:

 

  1. God searches every heart.
  2. He understands the motives behind each thought and action.

 

God wouldn’t let me find my makeup bag because He had searched my heart and needed to expose a few things.  He needed to show me that He knew the motive behind wanting those curtains – it was all about me.  And He needed to show me that in arguing with my husband who had been led to give the money away, I was openly refusing to obey His command to invest in and build the Kingdom. 

 

Later that night when my husband came home I humbly apologized for not stopping long enough to consider what he and God had wanted.  A few minutes later, it occurred to me that I was still missing my makeup bag.  Though I had searched thoroughly, I asked my husband to check the car one more time.  When he did, he found the makeup bag on the passenger floorboard – in plain sight.

 

I share this story because God will not allow us to cover up the ugliness in our hearts no matter how hard we try.  He is committed to uncovering the truth of who we are and exposing our sin in order for us to become self-aware – self-judging – so that He does not have to judge and discipline us Himself.  Finally, when we seek Him and His will for even the simplest of things, He meets with us and blesses our obedience. 

 

My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, uncover the ugliness of my heart where my motives are wrong and selfish.  You understand these things even more than I do.  Thank You for being committed to my good and giving me Your very best even when it’s uncomfortable.  Help me to have a humble heart and open hands to whatever You ask me to do.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

If your heart needs a makeover, try the following:

  1. Quit trying to hide behind the outer coverings:  Take off the foundation and lipstick and be real about what’s going on.  If it means crying – cry.  If it means confronting someone – confront them and be honest.  If it means giving up that thing you are selfishly enjoying – be selfless and do what you know is right.
  2. Do a heart check by asking the question:  What is my motive for wanting things my way?  Is it in line with God’s Word? Is it serving the greater good and the Kingdom of God?
  3. Repent by acknowledging God as the Sovereign Lord and confessing what it is that makes your heartsick.
  4. Allow God to soften your heart and mind to be willing to do what it is He is asking of you.

 

Reflection Points:

  1. Is there currently something in your life that you are having “heart issues” about?
  2. How is it manifesting itself on the outside?
  3. Have people made comments to you about your changed countenance or attitude?
  4. What do you need to do to give your heart a makeover?

 

Power Verses:

Proverbs 15:13, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” (NIV)

 

Luke 16:15, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.  What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (NIV)

 

James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm

 

Shaped with Purpose, by Renee Swope

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_shapedPurpose.htm

 

Show Me the Way (audio CD), by Gwen Smith

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_showmeway.htm