As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’ve always been asking God for humility and a pure heart. The opposites are just too easy to fall into: it’s so easy to be swayed to arrogance and not notice when pride seeps in, and it’s easier to turn the eye away and move on with my own life than extend a helping hand. Today’s reading from the 21-Day Bible Reading Plan reminds me of how to make and keep my heart pure.
But wait, what do I mean with a “pure heart?” I remember back in college, a professor asked us, “If we had to choose one thing that we can improve on, what would it be?” Each student answered. It’s one of those questions I was happy not to be the first to answer so that I could think and reflect. My turn came and I said, “empathy.” “How sad,” the professor said.
You see, back then (and bits of now), I have lived with a bratty heart and an all too self-centered life that compassion and empathy had to be effortful, and I exert effort just because it’s the “right” thing to feel. I wanted genuine compassion, and that’s not something I can get for myself. I needed God’s help, and I needed to be surrounded with people who I used to not be fond of—those I viewed as emotional and overly kind. My arrogance has viewed them as weaklings. But soon enough and so much today, I see the strength and beauty of these people. They, to me, have a pure heart. Not that strong people don’t have pure hearts, but with my state, I needed to be with people on the other end of the spectrum to help get me from where I was to where I needed and wanted to be.
I wanted that for myself, not because it’s “right,” but because it’s a heart after God’s own heart. That’s what I mean and want—my heart to be more like God’s heart.
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:9 ESV
I believe this verse talks mainly about a young man’s struggles with lust, but its truth can be applied to having a heart that is pure.
Boundaries are good. They give us a clear space to put all our efforts on, where we can be both fruitful and safe. I’ll save fruitfulness for another day, but I think I have written something about boundaries and fruitfulness in this post.
On safety. Whether Noah sleeps or plays, I put him in his crib. If we want him on the bed, we put pillows around him so that he doesn’t fall off the edge. The pillows we put around him are wide and heavy enough that he won’t be able to accidentally pull or lift onto his face and suffocate him. We need boundaries in our hearts so we don’t fall off the edges to pride and greed. And we need these boundaries to be solid and sturdy. If the boundaries are too flimsy and can easily be dislodged, that can be as dangerous as if there were no boundaries.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10 ESV
If I want to have a heart after God’s own heart, I need to consistently seek Him. By reading His Word, I get to know more of Him who I want to emulate. I thank God for giving us the bible, because we can seek and find Him there.
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 ESV
I am poor at memorizing anything! But this doesn’t keep me from trying to memorize bible verses. (Trying) to memorize bible verses, reading, and studying what I read is like planting good seeds and making boundaries sturdier in my heart. Tomorrow or next week I may forget what I’ve memorized today, but I know that when the need arises, the Holy Spirit will pull these from memory, harvest from what I’ve sown in my heart and remind me accordingly. I may not necessarily see the impact of it today, but it is making the boundaries in my heart more unshakable.
My prayer is that as we keep on at reading God’s Word, our hearts beat more and more like His’.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV
Grateful for Noah’s first staycation! Looking forward to making more memories with our little guy. He is 10 weeks old already!!!