READING: Proverbs 16-18
If I’m honest, I must admit that I can be really deceptive. I’m not talking, though, about lying to others. I want to be a truthful person in all that I do, and I pray the Lord keeps me from anything less than the truth when working with others. What I’m talking about here is not deceiving others but instead deceiving myself. I, like all of us, am prone to convincing myself about the purity of my heart when that’s not always the case. I think my way is right, but the Lord knows better: “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord” (Prov 16:2).
I’m sinful. I’m blind to reality sometimes. Even in my redeemed state, I don’t always read my heart properly. My way “appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov 16:25). Or — and perhaps this happens more often than I want to admit — I sometimes do know that my heart is not right, my motive is not pure, my goal is not godly, but I still hyper-spiritualize my thinking and convince myself long enough to get myself into trouble. Either way, I am not deceiving the Lord.
When our heart needs redirection and recommitment, the Lord often directs us there through adversity. Not unlike the way that the heat of a fire purifies metals, the Lord purifies our heart through difficulties and trials: “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Prov 17:3). The struggles of life dig into the depths of our being and bring to light who we really are. Do we trust God, or do we trust ourselves? Do we lean on His love, or do we get angry with Him for not taking care of us? Do we so want to be pure that we accept the fires in faith, or do we turn away from the One who is sovereign over the flames?
I don’t want to invite calamity, but nor do I want to have a deceptive heart. I’d rather be genuinely pure than deceptively convinced about my heart. Real integrity means integrity before the God who knows me inside and out.
- Take time today to ask God to test your motives for any decisions you make.
- If you already know places where your motives are impure, ask God in faith to purify your heart.
PRAYER: “Father, I don’t always know my own heart. Search me. Try me. Cleanse me. Make my motives pure.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 19-21