The great English clergyman John Flavel, in His wonderful work Keeping the Heart, wrote, “The greatest difficulty in conversion, is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is to keep the heart with God … The keeping and right managing of the heart in every condition, is one great business of a Christian’s life (emphasis mine).”[i]
We must diligently keep and rightly manage our hearts daily, for this is the great business of a Christian’s life that cannot be neglected. Yet many of us have allowed our hearts to become sickened from the toxic pollution of this world. Such hearts have become a desolate wilderness, barren of spiritual fruit.
It is time to reverse this tragedy of the heart in the Christian home and church. Our hearts must become perfect before the Lord. Do you know that God’s eyes are searching throughout the entire earth, peering into every home, every church, and every person for one thing? Do you know what it is the Creator of the heavens and earth is leaving no stone unturned to find?
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV)
The New American Standard Bible puts it this way: “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
God yearns for each of us to have a perfect heart. The word translated “perfect” from the Hebrew means “complete, whole, and completely finishing or perfecting a work.” It describes a heart wholly true to God and completely undivided in its allegiance. It is a heart that utterly trusts and leans on Him in every circumstance and does not put its confidence in the strength of another. It is a heart that empties itself of every ounce of self-pride, self-exultance, and self-reliance, and is totally consumed by God. We’re talking about a heart that gives all of itself to God without reservation.
A perfect heart holds nothing back from God. It lays itself on God’s altar as a living sacrifice. It is a heart shaped, molded, and prepared by God to accomplish His mighty purposes upon the earth. Such a heart will enjoy intimate communion with the living God and is prepared to fulfill its calling to manifest God’s compassion and love in the world. But I warn you: This is a heart that is 100 percent God’s, with no strings attached. It’s always at God’s disposal, ready to serve Him in love wherever He beckons. It is a heart that is so passionately rooted in God and His Holy Word that sin has no power over it, and no unholy desire or craving has any control over it.
Only such a heart will allow God to completely finish His work within, bringing us to the point where the heart is completely conformed to the image of Christ. Make your heart His instrument, and as God will create the most beautiful masterpiece that lives and breathes Christ in every note. The perfect heart will sound out His song to all generations.
God implants the seeds of a perfect heart within our new nature when we are born again in Christ, but we must allow Him to finish His perfect work and, as a fellow laborer with Christ, work with Him to ensure that our hearts begin to grow and blossom toward perfection.
Scripture assures us it is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart. King David said, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way … I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (Psalm 101:2, NKJV). David Wilkerson writes in Hungry for More of Jesus:
To come to grips with the idea of perfection, we must first understand that perfection does not mean a sinless, flawless existence … it means completeness, maturity. Hebrew and Greek meanings of perfection include “uprightness, having neither spot nor blemish, being totally obedient.” … A perfect heart is a responsive heart, one that answers quickly and totally all the Lord’s wooings, whisperings, and warnings … The perfect heart wants the Holy Spirit to come and search out the innermost man, to shine into all the hidden parts-to investigate, expose and dig out all that is unlike Christ … The perfect heart yearns for more than security or a covering for sin. It seeks to be in God’s presence always.[ii]
The perfect heart is fiercely loyal to God, regardless of circumstance or enticement. The perfect heart is obedient to God without hesitation or compromise. The perfect heart loves God with every fiber of its being and shuns the lure of earthly treasure. It stakes its very life on the promise of God’s faithfulness. A perfect heart is unadulterated in its humility before the Lord. It is a meek heart that is teachable and fully tuned to the voice of God. The perfect heart lives and breathes in His presence, aching with a burning passion for intimacy with the Father. Oh, that the Lord will take our weak and frail hearts and form them into perfect hearts that joyfully abide in Him always!
Now is the time for a purifying restoration of our hearts—a revival of the heart, if you will. If we will empty ourselves of pride and instead allow our hearts to become rooted in God and His Word, the church will become unstoppable, immovable, and unshakeable as we move to fulfill His holy calling on this earth.
We must once again have the shepherd heart of David, the lion heart of Jesus, the meek heart of Moses, the tender heart of Hezekiah, the perfect heart of Abraham, the wise heart of Solomon, the willing heart of Ruth, the listening heart of Samuel, the stirred heart of Jeremiah, the fiery heart of Elijah, the courageous heart of Joshua, the sacred heart of Ezekiel, the obedient heart of Noah, the fellowship heart of Enoch, the devoted heart of Peter, and the branded heart of Paul.
May Jesus Christ, the Bright and Morning Star, arise and shine forth brilliantly in your hearts so that we can turn the world upside down again (Acts 17:6) by the testimony, actions, motives and emotions that flow from our hearts.
[i] John Flavel, Keeping the Heart, 9, Kindle.
[ii] David Wilkerson, Hungry for More of Jesus: Experiencing His Presence in These Troubled Times (Baker Books, 1992), 379, 390, Kindle.
This is an excerpt from my new book: The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life. Purchase it now: