Best of Daily Reflections: God Knows Your Heart, Part 2
Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.”
In yesterday’s reflection, I began to consider the implications of the fact that God knows our hearts. Today, I want to add a couple of further thoughts.
First, if you’re like me, the thought that God knows your heart can be distressing. You can fool the people around you with how you speak and act. But you can’t fool God. He sees all things in you that you’d rather hide, even from yourself.
Sometimes people are scared by the thought that God knows them through and through. They may even try to hide their hearts from him, though this won’t work. Or, they may try to clean up their act, including their inner lives. Yet, they inevitably discover that this doesn’t work either. So, they live in fear of God’s judgment and wrath.
When we consider the fact that God knows our hearts, we must remember the character of God as revealed through Jesus. God is like the good shepherd who sought his lost sheep, the woman who searched for her lost coin, and the father who welcomed his returning prodigal son. The God who sees your heart does not want to punish you, but to embrace you and transform you. He is ready to forgive if you are ready to receive his forgiveness. Thus, the fact that God knows us completely can, when rightly understood, spur us to turn to him with confidence and hope.
The fourth chapter of Hebrews makes this point abundantly clear. Verses 12-13 reveal: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” So is that the implication? Does Hebrews tell us to clean up our acts, to tidy up our hearts? No, not at first. Rather, we are reminded of Jesus, our “great High Priest” who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing we do, yet he did not sin” (4:15). Because Jesus “gets” us, and because, as our High Priest he has made a way for us to be right with God, we don’t have to cower in fear because we are naked before him. Rather, Hebrews proclaims, “Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (4:16).
Because of Jesus, because of his revelation of God’s love, because of his sacrifice for us, the fact that God knows us completely should not scare us to death. Rather, it leads to a new freedom to approach God. It opens us to a fresh experience of grace that will, over time, transform our hearts and our actions.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you feel free to approach God’s throne with boldness? Why or why not? If you were utterly convinced that God knew everything about you and that he loved you with an everlasting love, how might your life be different?
PRAYER: Gracious God, you see all that I am. No part of me is hidden from you. This would be a frightful thought, indeed, but for your grace. Yet I know that you look upon me with loving eyes. You seek me and desire my fellowship. You want to cleanse and renew me. Thank you!
Thank you for Jesus, my great High Priest. Thank you for his work on my behalf, offering the perfect sacrifice of his own life so that I might be forgiven and live intimately with you. Thank you that Jesus understands my weaknesses. Through him, I come before you with boldness and freedom. I come without fear, even though you know my heart. I come today in need of your mercy and grace once again. I come asking you to purify my heart so that I might live fully for you.
I pray in the name of Jesus, our great High Priest. Amen.