A Christian should prepare himself or herself daily for inspection by God, for introspection by his or her heart, and for a level of accountability to his or her neighbors that is beyond reproach.
Today’s Devotional Scripture
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24, New International Version)
Search, Test and Lead
Did you notice the three verbs King David uses before “me” in these two verses?
Search me, test me and lead me.
These are not the forceful words that David uses in Psalm 17:3-5, where he declares: “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men - by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. My steps have held to your path; my feet have not slipped.”
Psalm 139 reveals a much humbler king who fully acknowledges the incredible power of God. He talks about a God who knows literally everything about him. King David closes the psalm with today’s devotional scripture.
How Jesus Prepares His Disciples
At a moment much later in time, Jesus prepares to send out His 12 disciples with the “authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (Matthew 10:1).
He includes the following words of caution and reassurance: “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:26-31).
New or Unfamiliar Territory
Some of you are heading into new or unfamiliar territory. You may have chosen it or it was chosen for you. But what may not be apparent is you are probably better trained and equipped than you realize. As we learned in yesterday’s devotional article, the true power comes from God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.
When you go and reach out to others, remember the words and heart of King David. He asked God to search him to make sure he was aligned with the Father’s will. He asked God to test him to make sure that he would not falter. David asked God to lead him, because he knew that success comes by following our Heavenly Father.
The Apostle Peter may have had the words of King David and Jesus in mind when he advised the Christians in Asia Minor.
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed,” writes the apostle in 1 Peter 3:14-18. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”
Yes, Jesus died once and for all to defeat sin and death, and delivered unto believers the gift of the Holy Spirit. Use what He has given you with gentleness, humility and a clear conscience as you share the story of Jesus with others.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a just God. I praise You for knowing all things. Please reveal to me any offense, anxiety or fear that dwells in my heart or mind. Are there any areas in my life I need to surrender to You? Is there any sin I need to confess? Strengthen me to surrender, confess and turn back toward You. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Strengthen me, Lord, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
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