In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” Matthew 3: 1-3
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! Psalm 139: 23-24
One aspect of life I have always found interesting is seeing how people search for things. The game changer in our search for lost items is the value of it. When I lose a pen in our house it does not bother me a bit. It does not bother me because I have a drawer which overflows with the bounty of pens I have gathered through school. Yet, if I lose a dollar, the hunt becomes amplified. I will go through every corner of my house to find that dollar. When you are a Teacher Assistant, every single dollar counts!
The search for lost items always comes down to whether it is worth the time and investment. If the time and energy does not equal the value of the item, we will probably forsake the search and move on. When the value is worth it, we will take all efforts to recover what was lost.
In this time of year, I am always reminded of God’s people. Think for a moment about what it looked like for them searching for their Messiah. All throughout the Old Testament we read about how God’s people are promised a Savior, someone to redeem them from their sin. Years and years pass and yet, they seem to find no solution to their “lost” Savior. Their search goes on and on and every year seems to end the same way.
I can imagine for people who were in earshot of John the Baptist they were thinking he was just insane. A man crying out and declaring the Messiah was coming had to be something they were all too familiar with. I believe we can safely say they went on with life as usual. But we all know when God shows up everything gets disturbed.
Life does not go on as we plan it when God shows up. Even today we are experiencing the ripples of Jesus coming to earth. I cannot even imagine what life would look like today if the Savior of the world did not come down and live among us. While the physical search of the Messiah ended when Jesus came to earth, a new search began.
John is challenging people to repent and to prepare their hearts for a good disturbance. The call to repent is a way to spur people to search their hearts and get it ready to be cleaned out. We never had the capacity to clean up our hearts and make room for the Messiah. Generations of temporary sacrifices proved this point. We desperately needed a new heart and not just scrubbing our old one.
Preparing the way of the Lord is a call to prepare our hearts for Him. The psalmist dives into this more by pleading with God to search their heart completely. The reason we need to search our hearts is because we can become blind to what is in it. God searches our heart with compassion and grace. As He searches He will bring to surface anything occupying space that should not be. He does not bring them to surface to hold against us, He brings it up so we can give it away to Him and allow more room in our hearts for Him to occupy.
When it comes down to it, living a life with Christ can seemingly bring about more disturbances. What if we get a perspective where we view these disturbances as beautiful? Sometimes it takes a disturbance to shake us out of the beaten path of repetition we tend to develop every day. The challenge we can take is to make time every day to ask God to search your heart. Some days will be better than others when it comes to the heart search. The time we take to ask can seem like a disturbance to our schedule, but it just might end up being the most beneficial part of our day.
God wants our entire heart. As God searches our heart He also cleans it up in order to give us the capacity for more of Him. One major truth we have in this life is that we need more of Him.
What are some of your initial reactions to the disturbances in your life? What feelings do you have, and how do you typically respond?
What can change in our lives when we view the disturbances as an opportunity to ask God to search us? What benefits come from having a better understanding of what is in our hearts?
God, search my heart – all of it. Bring to light the parts that I attempt to keep hidden and away from You. I ask that You disturb my status quo. I will turn away from my desires and my ways, and set my focus on You and Your grace. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.