The Touch Of God Upon The Heart
By Rich Carmicheal
This issue focuses on the theme of the heart, a matter of vital importance to the Lord. The heart is a wellspring of life (Prov. 4:23), and the condition of it, whether good or evil, affects our whole being (Matt. 12:34-35; 15:18-20). The Lord “does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
On one hand, the news regarding man’s heart is not good. The Lord says the heart “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jer. 17:9). Man’s heart can be...
...proud (Prov. 16:5),
...stubborn (Psa. 81:12),
...hardened (Heb. 3:8),
...envious and self-seeking (Jas. 3:14),
...far from God (Matt. 15:8),
...adulterous (Ezek. 6:9),
...astray (Heb. 3:10),
...darkened (Rom. 1:21),
...backslidden (Prov. 14:14),
...and impenitent (Rom. 2:5).
It can also be...
...wounded (Psa. 109:22),
...sick (Prov. 13:12),
...weighed down (Luke 21:34),
...discouraged (Num. 32:7),
...distressed (Psa. 143:4),
...anxious (Prov. 12:25),
...severely pained (Psa. 55:4),
...overwhelmed (Psa. 61:2),
...troubled (Psa. 25:17; John 14:27),
...filled with grief (1 Sam. 1:8),
...filled with turmoil (Psa. 38:8),
...filled with bitterness (Prov. 14:10),
...and filled with guilt (Psa. 51).
Unfortunately, we know some of these characteristics all too well from our own experience. Perhaps even now you are dealing with a sinful heart or a troubled heart, and are in great need of the Lord’s touch upon your heart.
That is where the good news comes in – actually, glorious news! The Lord wants our hearts filled to overflowing with spiritual life from Him so that every aspect of our life is filled with Him. For example, if your heart is anxious, He wants to fill you with His peace. If your heart is discouraged, He wants to fill you with His joy. If your heart has gone astray, He wants to turn it toward Himself. If your heart is filled with guilt, He wants to cleanse you and set you free. If your heart is sinful, He wants to make you pure and holy. He specializes in matters of the heart, and no matter what the particular needs or shortcomings of our hearts may be, He is able to work so that they are whole and overflowing with His life.
God’s Work in the Heart
To this end, He begins by giving us a new heart (Ezek. 36:26), which, if you are born again, you already have! He removes our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh. He puts His laws into our mind and writes them upon our hearts (Heb. 8:10). Together with this He strengthens our hearts (Psa. 31:24), revives our hearts (Isa. 57:15), comforts our hearts and establishes us in every good word and work (2 Thes. 2:17).
What He asks of us is that we bring our heart humbly and fully to Him, in whatever condition it is in, trusting Him to work in us all that is pleasing to Him. He promises that if we search for Him with all of our heart, we will find Him (Jer. 29:13). And the greater our sense of need for His work in our heart, the more we can anticipate His grace and power to be at work in us, for a broken and contrite heart He will not despise (Psa. 51:17; cf. 34:18). “I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word” (Psa. 119:58; cf. 25:16-17). Join with David in this prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24).
The Scripture promises that “you who seek God, your hearts shall live” (Psa. 69:32). In other words, your heart “shall be revived, shall be encouraged, strengthened, animated” (Barnes). Consider with me some of the glorious truths of what happens as we allow the Lord to work deeply in our hearts:
• God fills our hearts with His love. He pours out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5) and directs our hearts into His love (2 Thes. 3:5). As His love fills our hearts, we are enabled to love Him with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). We are also filled with sincere love for our brothers and sisters in Christ and able to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22).
• God fills our hearts with His joy. “You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased” (Psa. 4:7); “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices…” (Psa. 28:7). “…Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!” (Psa. 105:3).
• God fills our hearts with His peace. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…” (Col. 3:15); “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
• God fills our hearts with His strength. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psa. 31:24); “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psa. 73:26); “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…” (2 Chr. 16:9).
• God cleanses our hearts and sets us free from guilt of sin. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you…” (Ezek. 36:25-26); “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22).
• God fills our hearts with purity. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10); “So that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father...” (1 Thes. 3:13).
• God fills our hearts with song. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19); “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).
• God fills our hearts with a willingness to obey and serve. “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psa. 40:8); “Bondservants, be obedient…with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:5-6); “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart...” (Rom. 6:17).
• God fills our hearts with light. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding [heart] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe...” (Eph. 1:17-19); “For it is [God]...who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
• God fills our hearts with Christ. “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).
What could be more glorious and more encouraging than this last truth: Christ Himself dwelling in our hearts! And with Him, His life, His love, His grace, His power, His compassion, His truth, His strength, His joy, His endurance, His peace, His righteousness, His purity, His salvation, His victory and His Spirit! And stop for a moment to consider this incredible prospect: “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”!
Oh bring your whole heart to Him, with all of its shortcomings and problems. Seek His face and wait in His presence. Let Him fill your heart with Himself and His abundant, overflowing life.