Make Me A Man After Thine Own Heart
By Oswald J. Smith (1889 – 1986)
On November 8, 1927, my thirty-eighth birthday, I prayed this prayer: “Lord, make me a man after Thine own heart.” Work faded out of sight; things that before seemed important disappeared; everything in which I was interested took a secondary place, and my own inner life before God was all that mattered, all that was really worthwhile. And as I paced back and forth in my room that day I prayed, and prayed in the Spirit: “Lord, make me a man after Thine own heart.”
I saw as I had never seen before that the big thing was not the work I was doing, the books I was writing, the sermons I was preaching, the crowds that gathered nor the success achieved; but rather the life I was living, the thoughts I was thinking, heart holiness, practical righteousness; in a word: my transformation, by the Holy Spirit, into Christlikeness.
There came to me with new and deeper meaning than ever before the words: “Oh, for a closer walk with God!” My heart went out in a cry of anguish for such an experience. “That I might know Him” (Phil. 3:10). Thus prayed the great apostle. “Christ in you,” he said again (Col. 1:27). And then, “Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20). Yes, “Noah walked with God;” “Enoch walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9; 5:24). Could not I? Am not I more precious to God than my work, my possessions? God wanted me, not merely my service.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, ALL for Thee.
After that He led me out in prayer, a prayer that would make me a man after His own heart and these were the petitions: “Lord, here are my hands; I consecrate them to Thee. May they never touch anything that Thou wouldst not have them touch, or do anything that would dishonor Thee. Here are my feet; I dedicate them to Thee. May they never go where Thou wouldst not be seen. Lord, here are my eyes; may they never look upon anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit. May my ears never listen to anything dishonoring to Thy name. May my mouth never be opened to speak a word that I would not want Thee to hear. May my mind never retain a thought nor an imagination that would dim the sense of Thy presence. May my heart know no love, and cherish no feeling that is not of Thee. Amen!”
Lord, I give my all to Thee,
Friends and time and earthly store,
Soul and body, Thine to be,
Wholly Thine forever more.
And as I prayed there came to me these words: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Then this: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God.... For sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom. 6:12-14).
Putting God First
God, I saw, demanded my undivided attention. Everything else must take a second place. Friends and loved ones, home, money, work, all – even though legitimate – must give way to Christ! Day and night my undivided attention must be given to Him. God first! Such must be my attitude toward Him. Only then would He be able to bless and use me. Only thus could I satisfy His heart of love.
In my relationship to God I saw that no other and nothing else must come between. That just as a husband comes first in the affections of his wife, and vice versa, so God must come first in my heart. And just as no marriage can ever be a happy marriage where either husband or wife withhold their undivided attention from each other, so my fellowship with God could only be complete when He had my undivided attention.
All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed powers;
All my thoughts, and words, and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
What He asked of me that day He asks of all alike. Can it be that we would deny Him His right? Is there anything in this world worthy of that attention He claims? Why, then, do we withhold what He asks? Is true joy to be found outside of God? Can we be happy with “things”? Do “things” satisfy? “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
God Has Made Us for Himself
God longs for our fellowship and communion. To walk with Him moment-by-moment, right here in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, in a world that has no use for a separated, Holy Ghost life, a world whose god is Satan; to live as pilgrims and strangers in a world that crucified our Lord – that is His design and purpose for us.
God wants us to be one hundred percent for Him. So the question arises: Are we out and out for Jesus Christ? Are we wholly God’s? Not ninety percent, mark you, but one hundred percent. Completely given over to God.
So, then, to be a man after God’s own heart means to put God first; to walk with Him every moment; to do nothing that would displease Him and to allow nothing that would grieve Him; to live a life of practical righteousness and holiness before Him; to give Him our undivided attention, and to love Him supremely!
For it is in this way that we become Christlike; and that is God’s highest ambition for us – that we should be like His Son, transformed into the same image. Only those who spend much time in His presence will ever become like Him. Only those who give Him their undivided attention will really come to know Him.
To get His best we must give our best. To become men and women after His own heart, we must let Him have our undivided attention. To win, we must surrender. To live we must die. To receive, we must give!
Oh, the sweetness of such a life, the joy of His fellowship! There is nothing like it on earth. All the success in the world cannot compensate for it. He is “the Lily of the Valley,” “the Bright and Morning Star,” “the Rose of Sharon,” “the Chiefest among Ten Thousand,” “the One Altogether lovely.” Friends can never mean so much. Even loved ones disappoint. Money brings its burdens, and fame its bitterness. But He, He satisfies! God is never a disappointment. To walk with Him is the sweetest thing on earth. To know that all is well, that there is nothing between, that no black cloud of sin hides His face – ah! That is heaven, indeed.