There are two important questions we all must address. I encourage us - let us not move past these points without forcing our mind to think upon the answers to these:
Who can know the heart of man?
What is in my own heart?
As we meditate upon the first question, we must consider what would make the heart difficult to know.
There are two difficulties in this matter: the heart is hidden and it is deceitful.
To call the heart hidden is obvious, for it resides inside our chest and the feelings, motives and desires inside the heart cannot be seen with human eyes. True, we may see evidences which bear witness to a desire, but never the desire itself.
Hidden, yes, yet how can we say so definitely - the heart is deceitful?
Jeremiah 17:9 makes it clear, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
This is why the prophet does not pose to us the question, “Is the heart deceitful?” For it most certainly is. Instead, he asks in the same verse, “Who can know it?”
Who can know the heart of man? In short, it must be one who shares two characteristics:
The ability to see all things, even the hidden things
The ability to know what is true, even in the midst of extreme deceit
There is only One who can make these claims.
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10
“All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13
“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men…for he knew what was in man.” John 2:24-25
Our first answer then: The heart is hidden and deceitful, who can know it? Only the Lord.
As we continue to think upon these things, let us consider the second question now: What is in our own heart?
When the Lord searches and tests us, will he, in a sense, “find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8
We would be well served to prompt this examination, as David did in Psalm 139, rather than to dismiss it as a futile exercise, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” vv. 23-24
As we examine the state of our own heart today, let me make an appeal to you this morning regarding the law of God and how it relates to the state of your own heart.
Who do we believe?
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18
What is it that has condemned us already? The law of God. How can we know this law? It has been written on our hearts, while our conscience also bears witness to it. Romans 2:15
This is why it can be written, “They suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” and, “They are without excuse.” Romans 1:18, 20
And this “condemned already”, or separation unto judgment, reveals itself by what we love - either that which is evil or that which is good.
What do we love?
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19
What makes something evil? Evil is anything contrary to God and His holy and good law. What do we love and take delight in then - God’s nature, character and law? Or those deeds which are contrary to this?
The state of our heart then can be discerned in this way:
Who do we believe? Do we believe in the name of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God?
What do we love? Has that belief created in us a love for the law of God or do we love that which is contrary to it?
Why is this matter so important? Why spend time examining the state of our own heart?
Because this is a matter of eternal life or eternal death.
Outside of Christ, we are condemned to eternal death. Our deceitful heart, evil works, suppressing of the truth, love of darkness and hatred of the light, all leave us without excuse.
If we are not found in Christ, we are condemned already and the wrath of God remains on us. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36
Therefore we must all heed this warning and flee from the wrath to come.
Receive this testimony today, that God is true and every man is a liar, including yourself. “Submit yourselves therefore to God,” and seek Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7, 9
Turn your eyes upon Him, even as those who were sick lifted their eyes to the bronze serpent for life, so lift up your own gaze the Son of Man. Declare yourself to be on the road to death and turn to Him for life. Seek Him while He may still be found. See your need of a Savior today.
Read the words below as both a serious command and a beautiful promise.
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7
Believe and obey Him today! “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7
Yet, even now, at this late hour, a promise of rest remains, but only for those who turn from their evil ways, confess of their deceitful and hard heart, seek Him, believe God is true, and obey Him.