We live in a world where everyone is trying to maintain an image of themselves. Whether real or imagined, I think we all want to be known or to be remembered for something. And I think we could agree that under the right conditions, who or what we are eventually comes out. Whether you’re a bad person pretending to be good or a good person pretending to be bad, the right circumstances, the right conditions eventually draw the real us out. The feelings and thoughts in our hearts eventually become evident through our words and actions. The truth is, we try as much as we do to maintain certain characters and images of ourselves because what others think of us matters to us.
But as believers, what we know about ourselves, our affections, our intentions, our thoughts and feelings also counts because that’s what the Lord searches for. That is what He weighs us by. And this is why we’re talking about matters of the heart because at the end of the day, this is what matters. But the fact is, sometimes we look inside and all we see is what we have painted and justified on that internal mirror as true. We put so many layers of paint on that internal mirror that it can no longer reflect back our real selves to us.
We flood our hearts and conscience with so much noise that it cannot echo back what really lies within us. We mask our intentions, our thoughts and feelings until we can no longer tell which ones are true. But the Bible tells us in Psalms 27:19 that as water reflects back a man’s face, so does the heart reflect man to himself. And this is where I want us to focus our talk today. How do we examine and judge our own character? You know, how do we defog the looking glass that is our heart so that it does not reflect back a distorted image the way turbid or disturbed water does?
You know, when we become believers, when we let the Holy Spirit take possession of us, that is when the defogging process begins. Because we get a new standard, a higher standard, like we said the other day, to weigh ourselves against. The spirit of God, the word of the Lord, becomes the silver backing of our hearts, a medium of vision through which we can see our own true selves. A medium through which we can discern our sins and the plague of our hearts. The spirit of God sets a true light before our hearts.
You know, we said the other day that the human heart is wicked. Our wills are averse and our consciences defiled. And so it’s only when we weigh ourselves against the word of God and the counsel of the Holy Spirit that we can really discern our sins. It’s only by having the word of God as a standard that we can get a clear echo of the condition of our hearts. It’s the only way we can get a true understanding of how our hearts are. And this understanding, this discernment is what underlies genuine, conscious repentance. It’s my prayer that we may have the grace to open ourselves to the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. That we may be able and willing to look deep into ourselves for what contradicts the will of the spirit of God. That we may be led by truth in our assessment of ourselves. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
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Pastor Lucy Paynter Daily Insights