Light-Bearers: The Purpose of My Inner Self
PSALM 119: 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
“Love for the Lord is not an ethereal, intellectual, dreamlike thing; it is the most intense, most vital, most passionate love of which the human heart is capable.” —Oswald Chambers
When visiting the average Christian bookstore, you will usually find a shelf marked “Self-Help.” You will be intrigued by the titles of the various books. Some are humorous, and some arouse curiosity. You will find titles such as “Healing for Damaged Emotions,” “Awakening the Child Within,” “A Search for Significance,” “Inside Out,” and so on. What is disturbing is the similarity in emphasis between these books and those offered by New-age “enlightenment” groups. It seems that the modern day church is so desperate for spiritual meaning and purpose that it has turned to New-age teachings and pop-psychology for help. Most of these books are a desperate attempt to locate spiritual satisfaction within one’s own heart.
Unfortunately for many Christians, “fulfillment” in Christ and spiritual “purpose” seem to be hard to find. Christians today are often defeated and discouraged. Some have left the battle altogether. Even within our fundamental circles, the abundant life in Christ has fallen into a routine where godliness is duty and spirituality has become a mechanical routine. The joy, fervency, and power of God, have vanished and have been replaced with a “spiritual” routine. Deep within many hearts, there exists a void.
I. THE INNER MAN As we want to be light-bearers for God, it is of the important that we begin with a proper understanding of our inner man.
A. The Scripture most frequently refers to our inner man as “the heart.” It is our complete being; the essence of who we really are. It includes the mind, will, and emotions; and within the heart of every man there has been created an intense desire for purpose.
B. This longing, this yearning for meaning, can only be filled by God. Ecclesiastes 3:11”He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” [Money, fame, sex, possessions, wisdom] Life cannot and will not make sense until that void is properly filled. The only answer to the vacuum within is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The development of this relationship is the great purpose of our inner man. It is the very reason our heart was created: to know and love our God.
II. THE PURPOSE OF THE INNER MAN
A. Perhaps the clearest expression of the purpose of our inner self is found in the great command to Israel found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, 0 Israel.’ The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; and with all thy might.” Throughout all human history, God’s desire for his people is that they should love him with the totality of their being. Deuteronomy in particular is replete with this command:
1. Deut. 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
2. Deut. 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
3. Deut. 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
4. Deut. 30:20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
B. Jesus emphasized this when He stated that loving God with your whole heart was the first and the greatest commandment Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
C. Even Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers reveals that the purpose of the inner man is intricately bound up in the pursuit of the love of Christ Ephesians 3:16-19 “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” It is simply what we were created to do, and we will find ultimate satisfaction in nothing else.
III. THE PRACTICE OF THE INNER MAN Ps. 119:2
A. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies. Blessedness is ascribed to those who treasure up the testimonies of the Lord: in which is implied that they search the Scriptures, that they come to an understanding of them, that they love them, and then that they continue in the practice of them.
1. We must first get a thing before we can keep it. In order to keep it we must get a firm grip of it: we cannot keep in the heart that which we have not heartily embraced. God’s word is his witness or testimony to grand and important truths which concern Him and our relation to Him: this we should desire to know; knowing it, we should believe it; believing it, we should love it; and loving it, we should hold it fast against all comers.
2. There is a doctrinal keeping of the word when we are ready to die for its defence and a practical keeping of it when we actually live under its power. Revealed truth is precious like diamonds, and should be kept or treasured up in the memory and in the heart like jewels, or as the law was kept in the ark; this however is not enough, for it is meant for practical use, and therefore it must be kept or followed, as men keep to a path, or to a line of business.
3. If we keep God’s testimonies they will keep us; they will keep us right in opinion, comfortable in spirit, holy in conversation, and hopeful in expectation. If they were ever worth having, then they are worth keeping; their designed effect does not come through a temporary seizure of them, but by a persevering keeping of them: "in keeping of them there is great reward." ILLUS: NO 10 commandments.
B. Blessed are they that seek him with the whole heart.
1. Those who keep the Lord’s testimonies are sure to seek after Him. If his word is precious we may be sure that he himself is still more so. Personal dealing with a personal God is the longing of all those who have allowed the word of the Lord to have its full effect upon them.
2. If we really know the power of the gospel we should desire the God of the gospel. "O that I knew where I might find HIM," will be our wholehearted cry. See the growth which these sentences indicate: first, in the way, then walking in it, then finding and keeping the treasure of truth, and to crown all, seeking after the Lord of the way himself. The further we advance in grace the more spiritual and divine will be our longings: an outward walk will not be enough for those touched by God’s grace, he reaches out in due time after God himself, and when he in a measure finds Him, still yearns for more of Him, and seeks Him still.
3. Seeking after God shows a desire to commune with him more closely, to follow him more fully, to enter into more perfect union with his mind and will, to promote his glory, and to realize completely all that he is to holy hearts. The blessed man has God already, and for this reason he seeks him. This may seem a contradiction: it is only a paradox.
4. God must not be sought merely by the intellect; we must seek him with the heart. Love reveals itself to love: God manifests his heart to the heart of his people. It is in vain that we try to understand Him by reason; we must apprehend him by affection. But the heart must not be divided with many objects if the Lord is to be sought by us. God is one, and we shall not know him till our heart is one. A broken heart need not be distressed at this, for no heart is so whole in its seeking after God as a heart which is broken. It is the divided heart which the doctrine of our text censures, and strange to say, in scriptural phraseology, a heart may be divided and not broken, and it may be broken but not divided; and yet again it may be broken and be whole, and it never can be whole until it is broken. When our whole heart seeks the holy God in Christ Jesus it has come to him of whom it is written, "as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole."
Someone once said that there are two secrets to living. The first is: don’t sweat the small stuff. And the second: Remember it’s all small stuff. Everything in life that does not draw us into a closer relationship with God and the knowledge of his Will is all small stuff!
As believers who desire to bear testimony of the Light, we must examine the state of our inner self. Am I truly pursuing a heart-relationship with Jesus Christ? Am I seeking to honor Him with the thoughts of my mind? Is my will in submission to His? Are my emotions under the constant control of His Spirit? Am I really loving Him with the totality of my being? May the spiritual light that we bear be the reflection of our inner pursuit of the Lord our God. David was a man after God’s heart. Are we:
Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.