When it comes to music, I admit that I am stuck in the 50’s. Musical tastes and preferences are shaping up to be raging battles in churches. As for me, besides the fact that classical is not my music of choice, I can handle and enjoy most everything else.
One of my favorites is, “Search My Heart,” written by Rick Founds and published by Maranatha Music. You may or may not have heard of it or sung it.
Search my heart
look deep into my soul
See if there be anything at all
That might keep me from hearing You,
Keep me from knowing You,
Keep me from loving you dear Lord
The song is based on Psalm 139:23,24. I read these two verses in the Living Bible and one thought in particular hit home with fresh insight and conviction.
“Search me O God and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
I have underlined the words that leapt off the page and shot me through like an arrow. In the New Living Translation it uses the word “offend” or, in the NIV, “offensive way.”
God, I know, can be loving, forgiving, merciful and even angry; but thinking of Him being sad was a new thought for me. I memorized that verse, thereby opening myself up to the Holy Spirit to do just that--point out anything in my life that was making God sad.
It is not my intention to get into a theological discussion as to whether God can be sad or not. Scripture does teach that He can be offended, disappointed, and disgusted.
Being sad (it seems to me) is well within the range of His emotions. The word “sad” hit me hard. I am not exactly sure why. Thinking of someone I know (especially God) as being sad affects me at a very deep level.
As I review this verse, I am giving the Lord the opportunity to whisper in my ear anything that has been making Him “sad.” And it is these things, as the song says, that keep me from hearing, knowing and loving Him.
Most of what has come to my attention has been in the arena of personal relationships. It seems like that is a favorite “campground” for the Lord and me. I always struggle with relationships and they don’t develop easily for me.
Being the high-energy, fast moving, goal oriented person I am, it is very easy for me to not be as sensitive as I want to be or could be in interpersonal relationships; a harsh word to my wife or children; not stopping to show a little kindness or giving a listening ear to somebody in need; being pushy opinionated, or demanding.
I was having lunch with a pastor a while back and he mentioned something I had done that ticked him off. Normally that would have devastated and discouraged me, but to my surprise, I inquired as to what it was. I don’t want anything that God has made me aware of to stand in the way of hearing, knowing or loving Him.
So, I was motivated to deal with my possible sin right then and there. After this pastor explained what it was I had done, I realized that I had sinned against him and, at the same time, made God sad. I told him I was sorry and asked for his forgiveness. Our relationship took a giant step forward.
Seeking, with His help, to apply the verse and the truth of the song, I am experiencing a new tenderness in my walk with Him and in my relationships with others. I have a renewed desire to respond quickly when I discover something making Him sad. I believe that sensitivity to God and others is extremely foundational to everything I do as a leader.
I realize, that for me, it is a three-fold process:
1. Sitting quietly, attentively and regularly in His presence with an open Bible, open mind and open heart and allowing Him to “Search my heart and test my thoughts.”
2. Confessing as sin anything He makes clear to me that is making Him sad.
3. Making it right with another person that I have sinned against when God taps me on the shoulder or speaks through someone else.
How about you? Anything in your life that you are aware of that is making Him “sad?” Anything keeping you from: hearing, knowing, loving Him?