• Matt Beaney

DEVOTIONAL 3 – HOW DO I GET A HEART LIKE DAVID? (24/11/19)

Updated: Nov 29, 2019


CONTENTS

1. Come to Jesus Daily Devotional (A daily devotional for Monday through Friday)

2. Community Group/Family Devotional


INTRODUCTION TO WEEK 3

Last week, we learned about king Saul and how he was more concerned about his own glory than that of God’s. Therefore, God promised to replace him with a new king. Through the prophet Samuel, God said,

“But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14).

Our culture is caught up with externals – how we look and behave in public, and our ‘private lives’ are off limits to scrutiny except in certain exceptional circumstances. How people look, therefore, often dominates who we choose for marriage, to be our friends, whom we work with, who we vote for, who we listen to... However, above all else, God wants our hearts. God is interested in our character and our motives over and above the actions that we take and how we look.


This week, we will consider David’s heart for God and how our hearts can be increasingly renovated. It is not our behaviour that needs mending, its our hearts, as Dallas Willard has written,

The primary “learning” here is not about how to act, just as the primary wrongness or problem in human life is not what we do. Often what human beings do is so horrible that we can be excused, perhaps, for thinking that all that matters is stopping it. But this is an evasion of the real horror: the heart from which the terrible actions come. In both cases, it is who we are in our thoughts, feelings, dispositions, and choices—in the inner life—that counts. Profound transformation there is the only thing that can definitively conquer outward evil. It is very hard to keep this straight. Failure to do so is a primary cause of failure to grow spiritually.’



1. COME TO JESUS DAILY DEVOTIONAL


MONDAY - THE HEART OF THE MATTER

One day in 1946 Bessie Braddock MP is quoted as accusing Winston Churchill, “Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more you are disgustingly drunk.”

To which he responded, “Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

A bit harsh! But, humorously points to how we too often value appearance over the heart (inner character).

Be honest with yourself, do you value people for their heart (inner motives and desires…) or for how they look? What do you value most in yourself? I’ll make the assumption that you think that the heart is more valuable than appearance - and you’d be right! However, does the time and investment that you give to developing your heart - your inner self- outweigh what you invest in your appearance? If looking for a romantic relationship, do you put godly character as your most desired attribute? Do you go to the gym to build those muscles, lose that weight… but fail to work hard at knowing God?

Today, and during this week, we will be thinking about what the heart is and how we can develop it.


What is the heart?

When Samuel is sent to appoint David as the new king, he is told to reject the usual way of thinking about leadership and to take on board God’s priorities - the heart. We read,

‘But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

I am not a very good gardener, but I do try. In order for a plant to flourish it must be cared for in the right conditions; does it require acidic or alkaline soil, full, partial sun or shade… likewise, if human beings are to flourish, we must understand ourselves. Anyone who has had any teaching on biology would have some idea of the human body, but, most of us are ignorant of the human spirit or heart! It’s not surprising, therefore, that we are often so spiritually unhealthy!

The heart is our inner person from which motives and actions derive. It’s What you are when people aren’t looking! Dallas Willard, in his book, Renovation of the Heart, wrote,

‘We live from our heart. The part of us that drives and organises our life is not the physical. This remains true even if we deny it. You have a spirit within you and it has been formed. It has taken on a specific character. I have a spirit and it has been formed. This is true of everyone. The human spirit is an inescapable, fundamental aspect of every human being; and it takes on whichever character it has from the experiences and the choices that we have lived through or made in our past. That is what it means for it to be “formed.” Our life and how we find the world now and in the future is, almost totally, a simple result of what we have become in the depths of our being—in our spirit, will, or heart. From there we see our world and interpret reality. From there we make our choices, break forth into action, try to change our world. We live from our depths—most of which we do not understand.’

In essence the heart is our internal condition before God.

‘The human heart, will, or spirit is the executive centre of a human life. The heart is where decisions and choices are made for the whole person. That is its function.’ (Dallas Willard)

Is there a difference between heart, spirit, soul and will?

Many proposals are put forward on the constitution of a human being: are Spirit, soul, body, mind, will, heart…different parts? and how do they relate? I believe that there are two basic parts to us: the physical and the spiritual. The spiritual side, that which is not material (is not made of atoms), goes by a number of different words: heart, spirit, will and soul.



David had a heart for God

God chose David because of the quality of his heart,

“…The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

Saul, the former king, is presented as physically superior. God emphasis his physical attributes because He knows that these outward things are what impress us. God wants us all to know that none of us are immune to being ‘wowed’ and seduced by appearances. However, God says,

‘But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Samuel is sent by God to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, king. Samuel, initially, is tempted to look at the impressive outward appearance as indication of God’s chosen king. It’s strange that he has already seen in Saul that looks are not the indicator of potential - do we never learn?

God corrects Samuel saying “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Clearly there was something about the inner desires of David that pleased God. What were these and how do we get such a heart?


What does it mean to have a ‘heart after God’s own heart’?

David is described as ‘a man after his (God’s) own heart’. This means to have God’s will and glory at heart. Sin is well summarised by Paul,

‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ (Rom. 3:23)

Sin is to fail to live for God as is His due. David, like everyone else, ‘fell short’, David was a sinner, however, he was, on the whole, devoted to God’s glory. And His heart for God was seen in his true sorrow and repentance when He did make mistakes.


RESPONSE

Let’s make a fresh commitment to value what God values - to value the heart.

Let’s ask God to teach us to be like David, to be a person after ‘God’s own heart’ - may we seek His desires and His honour in our lives and inner being.

Let’s allow God’s vision of what is valuable to correct our vision; ask the Father to help you to value people’s hearts, encourage people's hearts, and not be too impressed with the outward show of things.


A good way to end this devotional might be to consider Jesus’ words on the nature of true worship. Jesus defined worship thus,

“True worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24).

To worship in ‘Spirit and truth’ means, amongst other things, that God wants people to love Him from their heart (‘spirit’ - inner being) and in ‘truth’ (authentically from the heart as opposed to an outward show).

God is seeking for you to be a person of true worship - like David - from the heart. Take a moment to pray along those lines.

TUESDAY – SEEK A GOOD HEART PT. 1 - SEEK IT BY REMEMBERING THE GOSPEL


The heart of David

God was pleased with David's heart, we read,

“But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14).
'But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 )

David is described as ‘a man after his (God’s) own heart’. This means to have God’s will and glory at heart. Today, and this week, we are considering how we can have such a spirit. How do we get a heart like David - a heart that loves and serves God?

'Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself.' (Dallas Willard)

In summary, we could simply say, the heart can only be renewed and then renovated through the Holy Spirit’s work in us. However, what we must understand is that the Holy Spirit acts on our hearts not like rain from the sky - “who knows when He might change us?” but, rather, like water from a fountain, - “I’m thirsty, there’s a fountain, I will go and drink from it”; In other words, the Holy Spirit works on us through ‘means’ - through using or 'investing' in the heart through these means.


The heart is transformed by what we invest in.

This principles is taught by Jesus when He said,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

That which we choose to treasure will renovate or burden the heart. David had a heart for God because he invested in the gospel.


Seek a good heart by remembering the gospel

Of course, David lived before Jesus' death on the cross for our sin - the gospel - but he confessed and remembered that it was only God who could forgive and save. He wrote,

‘Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Psalm 103:1-5)

David 'invested' in the gospel - he constantly remembered the grace (free gift) of God toward him. Those who fill their hearts with the story of God's love through Jesus, will have enlarged hearts toward God and others. It was the woman who knew that she was a forgiven sinner that worshipped and 'loved much'; He said,

"I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

like this woman, and, like David, if we want a renovated, heart, a good place to start is by constantly remembering the gospel of God's grace toward you.


RESPONSE

Are you cultivating gratitude for the gospel?

God sees your heart. Is it conceited and judgemental? Or is your heart broken by your sin, but full of joy and trust in Jesus - the sinless one who died in your place?

True heart renovation is a work of the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit works on us by the power of the gospel. Paul wrote about this process,

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ (2 Corinthians 3:18)

As we contemplate the glory of Jesus in the gospel- the Holy Spirit transforms us on the inside so that we love God and live for Him more fully. We contemplate the gospel in lots of ways: reading scripture, worship songs, writing about it, poetry, songwriting... Let's begin each day by remembering the gospel and thanking God for His amazing grace.

WEDNESDAY – SEEK A GOOD HEART PT. 2 – PRAY FOR THE HEART

When a car goes wrong, it needs to take it to a mechanic. Sometimes someone will ask regarding a mechanic, “do you know a good one?” As with a car, so too with our heart, we cannot fix it, but we ‘know a good one’ who can - Jesus. Our role is to take our heart to Him in ways that are specified in the bible - prayer is one of the ways we bring our hearts to Jesus. Now, if we get the ‘address’ for this amazing ‘mechanic of the heart’ but fail to go there, our hearts will continue to rust, sat on the side of the road, or, worse still, it is a nuisance to everyone else that are trying to use the roads. If we want a heart like David, and, ultimately, like Jesus, we must take our heart to Jesus and ask Him to fix them. Only He has the power to heal the heart!


David prayed for his own heart:

‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ (Psalm 51:10)
“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (Psalms 103:1)
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalms 19:14)
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (Psalms 27:8)

This psalm likens the heart to a compass that points to God: the Christian's heart says ‘seek his face’, He is our ‘due north’ as they say. However, we must set ourselves on a course that corresponds to this and actually ‘seek’ Him in prayer otherwise we will live with inner frustration.


RESPONSE

Saul, in contrast with David, failed to pray for his heart. We read,

"Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance,  and did not inquire of the Lord." (1 Chronicles 10:13 -14)

Are you praying for you own heart, that you would love God 'with all your heart soul mind and strength'?

Perhaps the reason why you are more frustrated with your self than you need to be is because you are not bringing your weakness, failures, and desire for change to the 'throne of grace'!


THURSDAY - SEEK A GOOD HEART PT. 3 – SEEK IT BY INVESTING IN GOD'S WORD

It’s the Holy Spirit who transforms our hearts. A tool that He uses for ‘heart sculpting’ is the word that He has inspired. The teachings of the bible are powerful to effect inner transformation. Yesterday, we saw that Saul not only failed to pray, he also failed to 'keep the word of the Lord',

"Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance,  and did not inquire of the Lord." (1 Chronicles 10:13 -14)

If we want a heart like David - a heart after God's own heart- we must invest in God's word.


David wrote about his attitude to God's word:

"The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart" (Psalm 19:1-2 )
"I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws." (Psalm 119:7)
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word "(119:11-16)


RESPONSE

If our hearts are going to be increasingly changed, one must have a life that’s saturated with God’s word.

David said, "I have hidden your word in my heart", this is memorising scripture. How are you doing at this He said, "I meditate on your precepts"; Christian meditation is focussing on, filling the mind with, considering, praying and worshipping out of God’s word. How about choosing a bible passage, a phrase from a Psalm maybe, and spend 10 minutes meditating.

A great text that you could memorise and meditate on is from Psalm 103,

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalms 103:2-5)

FRIDAY - SEEKING A GOOD HEART PT. 4 – THE HEART IS ENLARGED THROUGH WORSHIP

At the end of David's life, he is summarised not as a great warrior, wise leader, good friend...He is renown for His heart of worship,

'These are the last words of David: “David, the son of Jesse, speaks— David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel." (2 Samuel 23:1)

The disposition of the heart is of paramount importance to God. God was pleased with David's heart, we read,

“But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14).
'But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 )

David is described as ‘a man after his (God’s) own heart’. This, as we've seen, means to be devoted to God’s will, and desire that He be glorified, from the heart. If we are going to have a heart for God, we must learn, like David, to invest in worship.


Invest in true worship

Worship comes from the word ‘worth’ – worship is declaring and enjoying the worth of God. A lover expresses love, a parent expresses love, a worshipper expresses love to God. Yesterday we spoke about the importance of investing in God's word; it's through scripture, principally, that our love for God is deepened as we increasingly know the person we are praising.

True worship comes from the heart. Jesus condemned worship that was for a show,

"These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (Matthew 15:8)

It's vital that we remember this. In an age of 'rock concert' church, it very easy to value worship based upon externals - lights, smoke, volume, style of music, fashion... Jesus spoke of true worship,

“True worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24).

True worship is from the heart (spirit) and is authentic (in truth - it is also 'in truth' in that the content is rich in biblical truth). God is seeking for you to be a person of true worship - like David - from the heart.


REPSONSE

How are you investing in worship? We read that

'David was dancing before the Lord with all his might,  while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.' (2 Samuel 6:14-16)

The ark represented God's presence - do you recognise that, in worship, you are coming into God's holy presence? How would your worship be more regular and transformed if you were mindful of this?

David's public display of worship was the fruit of his private devotions - how are you doing at being devoted to both private and public worship?

2. Community Group/Family Study

1. The heart is important

Based on this week’s devotions, what is the heart?

A good definition is of the heart: ‘The human heart, will, or spirit is the executive centre of a human life. The heart is where decisions and choices are made for the whole person. That is its function.’ (Dallas Willard)

Read 1 Samuel 13:14. What does it mean to be a person ‘after God’s own heart’? Read 1 Samuel 16:7. Do you think that you spend as much time developing your heart as you do your outer presentation? If not, why not?

There is nothing more important than allowing God to shape our heart, as we read,

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it’ (Proverbs 4:23)

2. How to develop the heart

It’s important that we learn to expose ourselves to God in such a way that our hearts are renovated. To develop the heart for God we follow the principle that: ’The heart is transformed by what we invest in’.

Read Matthew 6:19-21. We invest the heart through what we choose to ‘treasure’. Here are a few ways of investing the heart:

  • Investing in the gospel (Read 103:1-5. David Remembered how God had saved him).

  • Prayer (Read Psalm 51:10, 19:14 - David asked for a transformed heart)

  • Invest in God’s word - Reading, study, mediation, memorisation… (Read Psalm 19:1-2, 7, 11-16)

  • Worship (Read Psalm 122:1, 2 Samuel 6:14-16)

How are you doing at opening yourself up to each to these ‘means of grace’? (A means of grace are the ways that God, through the Spirit, transforms us).

  • Finally. We produce our ‘come to Jesus daily’ blog that will help you to learn how to invest in your relationship with God. Please do make use of it.

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