A Perfect Heart: Part 2 of 2

by John Lowe
(Laurens, SC)

Trust is much more than submissive acceptance! It is active belief!


Some Christians have made our Lord out to be some kind of cosmic fire-and-rescue company. It is as if Satan sets your house on fire and you are stranded on the roof yelling, "Lord, help! Save me!" So along comes the Lord, with His angels holding a big net, and He says, "Jump!" You do jump, the house burns down, and you say, "Thank you, Lord, for getting me out!" Many of us limit our trust to these rescue operations. It is as if we say to the Lord, "I trust you to come and put out all my fires, save me from all my troubles, and deliver me out of all my trials. I know You'll be there, Lord, when I need You."

In doing this we think our faith is expanded and pleasing to God. But we don't realize that we merely have credited the devil with being the causer and the Lord as the reactor. We see Satan as causing and planning all our tests, chastenings and hard times. We say emphatically, "The devil is causing it!"This viewpoint makes God look like He simply reacts to all the devil's well-laid plans. But our God never reacts - He initiates!

If you have a true walk with Christ you are not the devil's punching bag! He has no free access to harass or touch you.
What kind of father would I be if I allowed a child molester, drug pusher or bully to have free access to any of my children?
Yet we go about saying, " The devil did this to me... he shut this door... he put this or that on me!" Christian friend, where is your Father? Is He Sleeping? Doesn't He care about you?
You mean to tell me He lets you be open prey to bullies, thieves, and killers? Never!

Satan could not touch Job without God's permission. God had to lower the wall around Job in order for Satan to kill him! Jesus was "led up of the Spirit... to be tempted of the devil" (Matthew 4:1). God is always in control. Not for one moment was - or is - Satan outside the power of God's word! Christ revealed Himself to Paul as He who "open(s) their eyes to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God" (Acts 26:18). A messenger of Satan came to pound-on Paul, but only because God allowed it. He would not allow His servant to be lifted up in pride because of the great revelation he had received. God was in control.

At least twice Paul tried to go to Thessalonica, "but Satan hindered" (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Yet the devil could not stop God's work. The believers in Thessalonica later became Paul's "crown of rejoicing." The trusting heart says, "All my steps are ordered by the Lord! He is my loving Father. He permits suffering, temptation, and trial - but never more than I can bear, for He always makes a way of escape! He has an eternal plan and purpose for me. He has numbered every hair on my head. He numbered every cell and formed all my parts when I was in my mother's womb. He knows when I sit, stand or lie down. I am the apple of His eye. He is Lord - not only of my life, but over every event and situation touching my life!" God has everything under control!

A perfect heart is not only searchable and trusting; it is also a broken heart. A Perfect Heart Is A Broken Heart. I once thought I knew what a broken heart was. I thought I had experienced more brokenness than I could stand - until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to a deeper meaning of the word.

David said, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite crushed spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
He also said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17).

Brokenness is more than weeping, more than sorrow, more than a crushed spirit, more than humility. Indeed, many who weep are not brokenhearted. Many who kneel before God and cry are not broken in spirit. True brokenness releases in the heart the greatest power God can entrust to man - greater than power to raise the dead, greater than power over sickness and disease!

The Spirit said to my heart, "I will show you what God sees as brokenheartedness - so that I can release in you the kind of power needed in a time of ruin." It is a power to restore what sin ruins - a power that brings a special kind of glory and honor to our Lord in troubled times!

Brokenness has to do with walls: broken-down, crumbling, ruined walls. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart... Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem" (Psalm 51:17-18). God associated the walls of Jerusalem with broken-heartedness.

Let me show you an example of a truly brokenhearted man: "And I went out by night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast I rode upon... Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned" (Nehemiah 2:13, 15).

Nehemiah in the dark of night "viewed the walls." The Hebrew word shabar is used here. It is the same word used in Psalm 51:17 for "broken heart." Some would think Nehemiah became broken when he "sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 1:4).
Yet his weeping and confessing was only the beginning of the breaking. Nehemiah's heart was not fully broken until he came to Jerusalem, saw the ruin - and set out to do something about it!
Nehemiah could have stayed in the king's court at Shushan palace, having weeping spells and times of mourning, fasting for days, confessing and praying - and still he would not have had a broken heart! Word spread far and near that "there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel" (Nehemiah 2:20). Nehemiah said, "I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem." He rode a donkey around the outside and "viewed the ruin." In Hebrew, the meaning of this is, "his heart was breaking in two ways." It broke first with grief for the ruin - and second with a hope for rebuilding ("bursting with hope")!

This is a truly broken heart - one that sees the church and families in ruin and feels the Lord's sorrow. Such a heart grieves over the criticism cast on the Lord's name. It looks deep inside and sees, as David did, its own shame and failure, and cries out, "Lord, I've made a breach in the wall! I've disregarded your holy testimony. I am crushed by my sins. This cannot go on!"

But there is one other element to brokenness: hope. The truly broken heart has heard from God, "I will heal, restore and build. Get rid of the rubbish and get to work rebuilding the breaches!"

A preacher told this story about his broken heart. Three years ago I walked through Times Square, weeping and mourning because of all the sin. I went back to my home in Texas, and for more than a year I wept and mourned. Then God said, "Go and do something about all the ruin." I had come and seen the destruction, but I was not fully broken until I was moved with hope to begin to rebuild the wall! Have you been "viewing the ruin" in your own life? Like David, have you sinned and brought reproach on His name? Is there a breach in your wall, something that is not repaired?

Folks, it is good to fall on the Rock (Jesus) and be shattered - to be broken into little pieces. When you see Christ in all His glory, the sight of Him will indeed shatter you. Even the good things in you - the talent, efficiency, all your abilities - will be shattered when you stand or kneel before Him, helpless and drained!

Daniel said, "There remained no strength in me... for my comeliness strength was turned in me into corruption ruin, and I retained no strength" (Daniel 10:8). Brokenness is the total shattering of all human strength and ability. It is recognizing the full reality of sin and the criticism it brings on Christ's name!

However, it is also recognizing this: "Stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent" (Daniel 10:11). It is the absolute assurance that things are going to change - that healing and rebuilding are going to come. Your ruins are going to be reclaimed for God!
It is a holy faith that says, "God is at work in me! Satan cannot hold me. I am not going to deteriorate or fall. My sin has grieved me, but I have repented. Now it's time to rise and rebuild!" Until you take hold of that hope, enthusiasm, and determination, you will not get past your tears. Your life may still appear to be a rubble heap, with mounds of dust piles and broken-down places that need repair.

But remember - you have His sword and tools in your hand.
And above you there is a big sign, posted by the Lord's own hand, that says: God at work; Enemies, beware!
Amen.

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