Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
The Intents of the Heart
God alone truly knows the motives or intents of the heart. He alone can search the heart and examine the mind and will reward each of us according to what our deeds deserve (Jer. 17:10). So how can we, as fallible human beings, know if our internal thoughts match our external actions and if we’re doing them for the right reasons? I am not sure we can fully do this without God’s Spirit to help us. When I look at what I do, does it match what my original intention was, or was it only to be seen by others? That’s a question we must all ask ourselves at one time or another because like my thoughts are not God’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8), neither are my intents or internal thoughts His thoughts. Unless my internal thoughts are done out of purely unselfish motivation, it doesn’t matter what my external actions look like.
Thoughts and Intents of the Heart
Jesus once said that if we even look at someone with lust in our hearts, we have committed adultery of the heart because that’s what we were thinking (Matt. 5:28). Hopefully, the actual physical act will not ever happen, but unless we are able to look at our internal thoughts more objectively and examine whether they are pure or not, our external actions are useless if not done for the right reasons. Only God can discern our thoughts (Psalm 139:2), and this is something that we cannot fully do. Therefore, we need His help in doing this because only He can direct the thoughts of our hearts and direct them toward His purposes (1 Chron. 29:18).
He Knows Our Hearts
God knows our hearts better than we do (Acts 1:24), and what we do in secret will be rewarded openly someday (Matt. 6:4). We should realize that what we do should not be done before others because it’s likely for the wrong motives. God will repay us for our actions if our heart’s intent was right (Rom. 2:6), and He will come with His rewards in His hands to dispense to all according to what we have done in this life (Rev. 22:12). Even the secret things hidden in our hearts are plainly known to God (Psalm 44:21), which is why He frequently tests our hearts (Prov. 17:3). His eyes behold every internal thought and intent, and He will reward or withhold rewards according to what our motivation really was (Jer. 32:19). So my question to you–and asking this of myself as well–is this: Do your internal thoughts match your external actions, whether for good or bad?
A Closing Prayer
Father God, You alone know the heart and know what I am thinking and why I do certain things, whether I do them to be seen by others or whether they are done in secret and for Your glory. There is none like You, Who can see what my true motives are and if my actions are done with a pure and sincere heart–help me to know the difference. In Jesus’ Holy Name I pray.
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