Thinking It Through: "Give Me Your Heart"
By David Dunlap
Throughout our lives, God molds and shapes us so that our wills, minds, and hearts—the whole person—may be spiritually transformed. His intent is that His will be our wills and His desires be our desires.
We read in Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me your heart.” The writer, in this fatherly admonition, does not say, “Give me your head” or “your intellect” or “your tongue,” but instead, he says, “Give me your heart.”
God wants all of these things, but most of all, He wants our hearts. We may have much truth on our lips and in our intellects, but God looks for it in our hearts. David echoes this truth when he writes that God desires truth in the “inward parts.” (Psalm 51:6)
We find this principle at work in Abraham’s life. In the early chapters of Genesis, we see Abraham in willful disobedience journeying down to live in Egypt. There, God began to convict his heart. During the time Abraham lived in Egypt, he never built an altar, he never prayed, and he never worshipped the Lord. But God used Pharaoh and a lie about Sarai to press His finger upon a tender place in Abraham’s life. Then, Abraham began to yield his heart to God. God’s will began to be his will, and God’s ambitions, his ambitions.
Finally, Abraham turned his back on Egypt and returned to the place where he had formerly built an altar and worshipped God. There, Abraham bowed his heart in surrender to God and called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 13:4).
God uses such times of surrender to bring us to the place where He can use us as He desires. Charles H. Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” once wrote:
When I surrendered myself to my Savior, I gave Him my body, my soul, my spirit; I gave Him all I had, and all I shall have for time and for eternity. I gave Him all my talents, my powers, my faculties, my eyes, my ears, my limbs, my emotions, my judgment, my whole manhood, and all that could come of it. (1)
A yielded heart
God’s method is to break our hearts with the things that break His heart. He had the same intent for King David. After David’s unlawful relationship with Bathsheba, their child was destined to become sick and die. When David saw his dear child suffering, it broke his heart. He fasted and pleaded with God concerning the child’s life (2 Samuel 12:13–17). However, he had not yet yielded his heart and will to God.
But, once the child died, David changed his clothing, ate, drank, and worshipped the Lord because the struggle in his heart had ceased (2 Samuel 12:18–20). At that moment, David may have learned, “A broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
It was not for Abraham and David to question God’s sovereign ways but simply to obey. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8–9)
May we have faith like that—to simply believe what God says, being assured that He will do just what He has promised. Like Abraham, we must trust in God’s secret and, at times, difficult-to-understand ways and yield to Him. Like David, may we look past all the circumstances of life that perplex us and trust unswervingly in the bare Word of God, even as our hearts break.
We should begin to practice such faith, stepping from stone to stone, until we are far out from the shore of human strength, leaning alone on the arm of God. ■
David Dunlap is a commended worker based in Florida.
(1) William MacDonald, The Disciple’s Manual (Gospel Folio Press: Port Colbourne, Ontario, Canada, 2004), p.110.