"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Let God Search Your Heart

By E. D. Hettinger

    There is one great truth that we must acknowledge and not neglect in order to experience in all reality a life of obedience to the Word of God, a life controlled by the Holy Spirit, a life of prayer and faith, a life of soul-winning, and the revival that is so desperately needed.  This truth we must acknowledge is: If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66:18).

    The Lord is greatly concerned about the inner part of men.  He knows also the outer part.  He knows all!  This is why He tells us in the Book of Matthew:  “...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (12:34); “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (15:19); “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me” (15:8).

    What is meant by regarding iniquity in my heart?  It is to look on the iniquity with approval instead of disapproval. It is to know there is something wrong in one’s life and to neglect or reject doing anything about it.  “...To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17).

Besetting and Secret Sins

    In Hebrews 12:1 we read, “...Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [attack] us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”  The besetting sin is the area of our weakness.  It is the sin that beats, defeats, defiles and eventually brings about disgrace.  It is a sin that one ignores, but is known to God.  We must be aware of the fact that Satan is always studying the child of God and will quickly enter by way of that weakness.

    Therefore, I must strive to know if such a weakness exists in my life, as a child of God.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).

    “Who can know it?”  The Lord knows our weakness, the sin that is believed to be covered.  We read, “O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me.  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandeth my thought afar off” (Psa. 139:1-2).  He knows our thought life.  “...Thus saith the Lord...I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them” (Ezek. 11:5).

    God knows all our secret sins.  “For now Thou numberest my steps:  dost Thou not watch over my sin?” (Job 14:16).  We may be able to cover our secret sin from the church, the family, the prayer meeting – but never from God who hates sin.

“Search Me, O God!”

    The psalmist prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart:  try me, and know my thoughts:  and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24).

    Dear ones, how we need to get alone with God and allow Him to search our hearts in regard to the iniquity that may be in them!  God knows you and me.  He can search us when we allow Him to reveal the area that needs cleansing.  We must remember, “he that covereth his sins shall not prosper:  but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

    Many years ago a group of men of my congregation gave of themselves to pray for revival and the salvation of souls.  One day while they were praying, one of the men rose from his knees and halted the prayers of the others.  Essentially this is what he said:  “Men, I cannot continue praying with you because I have a besetting sin in my life which is known by no one but God.”  He named his besetting sin and then confessed it to the Lord, after which he rejoined the men in prayer.  There was joy in the circle that night!

    The following day, which was the Lord’s Day, who should be present in the morning service but his son, for whose salvation he had been praying.  When the invitation was given, who should come walking down the aisle but his son!  When the besetting sin was confessed, forgiven and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, the father’s prayer for the salvation of his son was answered.  Truly, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66:18).

Iniquity in the Heart Divides

    As we read in God’s Word, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2).

    Sin in a Christian’s life prevents him from abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ.  “I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:  for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

    Iniquity divides from power, from fruit, from prayer, from faith, from love, from abiding in the Spirit, and from the will of God.  It all culminates in “Not Christ, but I” instead of “Not I, but Christ.”

Iniquity in the Heart Dulls

    Iniquity dulls the ears.  The Apostle Paul desired to impart the deep truths that are so needful for a Christian to mature in the Lord.  “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing” (Heb. 5:11).

    The Word of God teaches the result of the dullness of the ear: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:  for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For ye are yet carnal:  for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Cor. 3:1-3).

    The Word reveals the result of sin’s dulling the ears.  We become insensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the result being that Christians remain babes in Christ.  Iniquity of the heart not only dulls the ears of man, it darkens the eyes of man’s understanding.  It deprives the heart of man’s love.  It diverts the feet of the believer’s walk.  It poisons the tongue of man’s talk.  It deprives one of the fellowship of God.

Iniquity in My Heart Dulls God’s Ears

    “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66:18).

    “Therefore will I also deal in fury:  Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Ezek. 8:18).

    “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).

    The harboring of sin in the heart will effectively prevent us from sharing with our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will not endorse sin by answering prayer when sin is in the heart.

The Cure

    What is the cure for iniquity in the heart?

    First consider it:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart:  try me, and know my thoughts:  and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24).  “...Make me to know my transgression and my sin” (Job 13:23).

    Second, confess it:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  The confession of sin brings us back into fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

    How about the iniquity in your heart?  I pray you will be honest before God, so that you can be honest before others.  Let us seriously, in His presence, search our hearts before a Holy God.  Then “...whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!” (John 2:5).