Torch, Winter 1987

( After God's Own Heart J Ir I could be like God in any area of my life, it would be my heart. If only my heart was like God's heart. by Joel Harriman A 1977 graduate ofCedarville College, Joel Harriman Too often I do not choose to have such a heart. Like the Apostle Paul, I too struggle to live godly. He said "...but I am carnal [unspir– itual]. ... For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I" (Romans 7:14,15). Furthermore, this great saint laments, "So I find this law at work: pastors the New Richland Baptist Church in Belle Center, Ohio. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me." (verse 21 NIV). Three verses later he cries, "O wretched man that I am!" Paul struggled with his "fleshly" choices just as I do. But he also recognized that victory lies in godly choices made in the mind. Paul confi– dently said, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God..." (Romans 7:25). Interestingly, Solomon linked the mind and the heart when he said, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." (Proverbs 23:7). Can my heart be like God's heart as I make godly choices in my mind? Consider David. Paul states in Acts 13:22 that "He [God] raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will." How could Paul describe David as a man after God's own heart? He knew that David had not lived a perfect life. In fact, David committed heinous sins (adultery and murder) which led to disastrous conse– quences. Notice that God's testimony about David had not changed from the time before David was anointed king to this point many years after his death. God's testi– mony was that He still considered David to be a man after His own heart. The reason He could still say this was because of the quality and quantity of David's choices. David chose to admit his sin before God and to accept God's forgiveness: "Have mercy upon me, 0 God, according to thy lovingkindness; according to thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions... For I acknowledge my transgressions... Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight...." (Psalm 51:1-4). He abhorred the thought of broken fellowship with God. In fact, David's heart longed for fellowship with God. To say that David was a very busy man is a great under– statement. He was, at various times in his life, a shep– herd, professional musician, poet, hymn-writer, warrior, and king. Yet David consistently chose to spend time alone with God. "My voice shalt thou hear in the morn– ing, 0 Lord; in the morning will 1 direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." Psalm l 19 clearly expresses David's love for the Word of God. God's testimony about David in Acts 13:22 was that 10 this man after His own heart would " .. .fulfill all my will." God was commending David for having a right heart because of his willingness to choose to do the will of God. This is in marked contrast to David's predecessor, Saul, who had to be reminded by Samuel, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." Samuel also had to tell King Saul, "Thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel" (I Samuel 15:22,26). David was a man after God's own heart because of his godly choices. These included, among other things, his willingness to confess sin, to spend time fellowshipping with God, and to do the will of the Lord. As we make these same choices in our lives, we can also be men and women after God's own heart. The words of this hymnwriter express my own prayer: Oh, to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer, Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art! Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.