Musings 67

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.

Jeremiah 12:3 But You know me, O LORD; You see me; And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter And set them apart for a day of carnage!

Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.

1 Cor 11:28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

We live in a light and airy day where deep thought is rare, but perhaps the rarest of all is a professing believer who will take the time to examine his or her own heart. How many people really want the LORD to examine their hearts and to try them? How many people really desire to have their corruptions opened and to now the depths of their own souls? This is not to say that this is an easy practice nor that a person can just do this on a whim, but it seems to be rare that a person would even think of this and even rarer for it to actually happen. If we do not examine ourselves, it could be that we simply hardly know ourselves at all.

The Scriptures are said to be “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Our hearts are said (Jer 17:9) to be “more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” But in verse 10 it tells us who can know our hearts: “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” The Scriptures were not given to us so that we can know a lot about the Scriptures and go on puffed up in pride. The Scriptures were given to us to read, study, and to examine our hearts with by the power of the Spirit. The Scriptures were given to us as a means of stripping us bare of our self-righteousness and to leave us empty of self-reliance and pride while looking to Christ alone.

The Scriptures, when applied by the Holy Spirit, will examine us as we have never been examined before. This is not some high-tech machine which may miss things and will miss things of the past and future, but the Holy Spirit knows every single thing about us and goes as deep as our deceptive hearts go. It is easy to listen to orthodox preaching Sunday after Sunday as long as it never pricks the conscience and upsets our ease, our pride, and our self-righteousness. But if a preacher comes alone who goes after our ease, pride, and self-righteousness he will not be popular very long. The Holy Spirit goes far deeper than any preacher can, but the Spirit uses preaching for that.

This self-examination must happen and we should seek the Lord for a heart that truly desires to be laid bare before Him. Our pride will want to cover up the parts that need to be opened by Scripture and the Spirit, but we must cry out to the Lord for strength and desire to want this examination. After the first prick of the Spirit in showing us our hearts we may want to flee from the pain, but we must continue to seek the Lord to open us up before Him and before ourselves. If we love the Lord in truth, then we should want to have our hearts opened to us so that we could repent of the things He is not pleased with. Yes, this may sound morbid to some, but it is a way of true sanctification. It wants Christ to cleanse our hearts that He may dwell in them more and more. It wants the Spirit to convict of sin that it may turn from all that darkness and filth which brings misery with it so that it may have the joy of the Spirit.

It is not possible for a person to walk with God without examining the heart and probing the heart for things that displease the Lord. It is not possible for a person to love God and yet not bother with things in the heart that oppose Him and war against Him and His kingdom. We see David wanting to be examined. We see Jeremiah wanting to be examined. We see Paul telling us that we should examine ourselves before the Supper. But when we see the Scriptures telling us that our hearts are more deceitful than all else and they are desperately wicked, we should be moved to examine our own hearts. As lovers of God we should take His side against ourselves and our own hearts and seek Him to show us our hearts. We should be horrified to think that it is highly likely (perhaps almost certain) that we are deceived about many things. Yes, it is an awful thing to behold our own hearts when the Lord shines His light in and shows us the dunghill of sin that resides in us. Oh how our proud and self-righteous hearts will fight against the sight of our own hearts, but it is necessary for us to truly be repenting. It may make us want to tear at our own hearts to get rid of that horrid sin we see, but this is a work of grace. It must drive us to Christ and Christ alone.

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