A lot of people spend most of their lives making money. It is true that we need to work to take care of ourselves and our families. But when making money becomes our obsession and our goal, we need to step back and take a long, hard look at our lifestyles. When we spend too much of our time making money that we don’t need for our livelihood, perhaps we are laying up treasures in the wrong place. It might be time to spend more time with our families and with God. Since God has blessed you with money and most likely a good family, shouldn’t you stop to give Him thanks every day? Remember that everything belongs to God. He allows it to rain on the just and the unjust alike. He can also stop the rain if He so desires. You could be a millionaire today and a pauper tomorrow. So, don’t spend all of your time laying up treasures that will fade away, spend some time laying up treasures in heaven and those treasures will last forever. As you practice this, you will find that the desires of your heart change from an earthly, material, temporary focus to a heavenly, eternal one.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me.— Psalm 51:10 NKJV
What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts? An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin. The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us. We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts. Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty. An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so. Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”. It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. 18 For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. 19 For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.—1 Cor. 7:17-19 NLT
When we are called by the Holy Spirit and we accept Jesus as our Savior, there most likely won’t be any great or significant changes in our appearance or our vocations. There probably won’t be any changes in the personality that God gave us when we were born. God is not too concerned with our outward appearance. Our outward appearance and situation have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation. What God does expect is a change of the heart. If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our desires will change. We will want to follow God’s commandments simply because we love Him too much not to do so. He takes out the old stony heart and replaces it with a heart that desires His presence.
26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.—Ezekiel 36:26,27 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Of course, we know that God already knows our needs and our situation, but He has instructed us to ask and keep on asking. Jesus told the story of the persistent woman and the unjust judge. She kept pestering the judge until he gave her what she was requesting. God does not always give us what we ask, because sometimes we ask for things that we don’t need. Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you pray fervently that what you end up asking from God is not what you were thinking about when you first started praying? That is when you can know that “the desires of your heart” have aligned with God’s Word and His will. Then the answer is always yes. But, if our desires don’t line up, then we often get a “no” or “wait”. Some people say that it is a cop out to pray “nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done”. But that is what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. So, if He set the example, it is a good pattern to follow.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
Society and the world wants us to “dress for success”. Commercial after commercial emphasizes how we should continue to try to look young and beautiful (or handsome). All those things are temporary and fleeting. Good looks, great physiques and great wealth can be gone over night. None of that is guaranteed, so why do we spend so much time and money on those things? The important thing is this: What does God see when He looks into our hearts? What is in our heart will determine where we spend eternity. It is much more important to please God than to please man. We need to ask God to “create in us a clean heart” and “renew a right Spirit within us”. What does God require of us?
9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is? — Jeremiah 17:9 NLT
We are all very familiar with this verse from Jeremiah. Since this verse is true and God says that He will give us the desires of our hearts, how do we reconcile the two verses? As is usual, there are very few verses in the Bible that stand alone and these verses are examples of this. The verse from Jeremiah is describing the heart that we are born with. Those hearts belong to the master of sin and only desire those things that please the flesh. So, to reconcile these verses, we need to have a change of heart. We find a clue to God’s solution to the enigma in a passage in Ezekiel. This is an Old Testament verse that points to a future event.
26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. — Ezekiel 36:26, 27 NLT
Before Jesus died, He made a promise to us to send a Comforter and a guide to lead us into all truth. After He arose and ascended, He sent us His Spirit as promised in Ezekiel and by Jesus Himself. Once we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts. It is at that point, that the reformation of the heart begins. We now bow to a new master, Jesus Christ. Our heart is changed so that the desires of our hearts are now pleasing to God. First, He gives us a new heart with new desires and then He can give us what our hearts desire. The heart is new, but the reformation does not come overnight. It takes a lifetime of mortifying the flesh and when we come to the end of our life as a human, we will still be fighting that battle.
Have you ever felt frustrated and exasperated because you had prayed and prayed about something and it seemed as if God didn’t hear or worse yet, that He didn’t care? Have you ever just wanted to scream at God and tell Him to answer you right now?
David felt that very same thing when he wrote Psalm 143.
God is big enough to handle our frustrations with Him and He loves us enough to allow us to be frustrated. We aren’t the first of His kids to throw a temper tantrum. I am not saying that He likes it, but He can deal with it and still love us. He is always there to carry us through it. Again, not because of our faithfulness but because of His faithfulness. That is why David could write Psalm 143 and Psalm 145.