Search Me

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

We are masters of disguise, are we not? We are adept at hiding our innermost feelings from those around us. We can place the most villainous or depraved thoughts deep in the recesses of our mind and feel confident that no one will ever know–maybe they won’t. With a certainty, though, we can say that God knows.

David’s prayer in these verses is not so that God will search us so that HE may know what is in our heart. The entire psalm is about God’s knowledge of what is going on in the “secret” parts of our life. I believe that David was asking God to search him and then reveal to him the things about his life that were displeasing to God.

The word “search”, as used here, literally means, “to penetrate”. David has described the things that he is doing externally in his effort to please God, but he wants God to look beneath the veneer of activity into the substance of the soul. David realized that man has the potential for bitterness, anger, lust, murder, pride…any of the sinful desires of the flesh, and he knew that sometimes these impulses and imaginations could be compartmentalized and buried within us. Often these sins can be so deeply ingrained in our persona that we do not realize they are there. At other times we may have forgotten about unrepented-of sins in our past.

Are we willing to ask God to penetrate our heart, looking past the vain facades of denial, apathy and self-confidence? Are we able to place the entire evaluation of thoughts, motives and imaginations in His hands, asking Him to point out to us the areas of our life that displease Him?

What if He does start identifying trouble spots in our life? How will we respond? Will we meekly acquiesce to His verdict or will we become “spiritual lawyers” who look for loopholes or extenuating circumstances? Even worse, will we harden our heart to the conviction of His Spirit?

What we must never forget is that God already knowswhat is in our heart. This prayer is simply a matter of humbling ourselves before God and responding to His word, “lead me in the way everlasting”.


15 responses to “Search Me

  1. Wise words. We satisfy ourselves in our own righteousness so quickly and without His grace we would never be able to come face to face with the man in the mirror.

  2. Nice post , Gordon. I have been thinking of this very subject this week. Sometimes there are things hidden (or so we think) in our thoughts that seem to find those unexpected moments to come to our remembrance. I’m sure everyone has them…thoughts where our actions caused a hurt to someone, or something you did long ago that makes you think “Did I really do that?” How do you respond to those thoughts and feelings? I think our trust and reliance on God to show us in that moment how to respond is what is needed here. Not to place guilt or shame on us, but to direct us to reconciliation or repentance, if that is needed.

  3. What if He does start identifying trouble spots in our life? How will we respond? Will we meekly acquiesce to His verdict or will we become “spiritual lawyers” who look for loopholes or extenuating circumstances? Even worse, will we harden our heart to the conviction of His Spirit?

    Those questions were worth the price of admission right there. Very, very well-said, my brother.

  4. KC, excellent thoughts, as always my friend.

    Christy and Steve (hope y’all don’t mind me lumping the two of you together, hehe), thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I love and appreciate y’all and it’s always good to hear from you.

  5. This is one of the most difficult things for a child of God to do. There are things in my heart that I really don’t like to know are there and I dread dealing with them. When God turns on the search light to expose all the dark recesses, opens all the doors behind which my secret sins are hiding,then holds my eyes open and makes me look; it is painful but necessary. Thanks for posting this. Now I’ve gotta go do it.

  6. Garry, you are exactly right. I have never asked God to do this when it didn’t cost me something (especially pride).

    God bless.

  7. KC I probable would fall in that category and be so ashamed I would dig a hole and crawl in it .Bro Gordon we would have to make a lots of excuses and I don’t think that any of them would be strong enough to outsmart God, because He already knows our thoughts ? I am glad we can seek His forgiveness ! Blessings . RON

  8. I have been brave enough, many times in the past…and I say brave enough because a lot of the time it really hurts when God reveals us…to us. But then we have to summon up the fortitude to change…to be more conformed to the image of our Savior.

    My mama always says, “Be careful what you ask for, ’cause you just might get it.”

    God is always there. We just have to learn to let Him in!

  9. Bro. Ron, you are right about God knowing our thoughts.

    Bonnie, change is often uncomfortable and even painful, but we must be willing to do it in order to please God. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. The most difficult prayer I pray is this one. I don’t like for God to hold that mirror of introspection up to my face, for I never like what He reveals; neither does He.

    What makes transparency with God so difficult? You addressed it beautifully, Gordon.

  11. Thanks, Tony. I hope you and your church have a blessed day tomorrow.

  12. Tim A. Blankenship

    This has been a verse and prayer that I have prayed often, and will continue to do so. You are so right though when you ask, “Are we willing to ask God to penetrate our heart…?” Sometimes some of the things that God reveals to us are not so easy to deal with, but we must.
    Thanks for the good words.

  13. Matthew, I hope things are going well for you in Japan.

    TA, due to our human nature, it is needful that we pray this often, isn’t it? At times it seems that it’s like peeling an onion.

    Hi, Janice, I hope that y’all are ok after the storms.

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