Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way and me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I used to get annoyed when my laptop kept telling me it needed a software update, or virus scan, or some other preventive maintenance. Ask me later, I clicked on the screen, “Can’t you see I’m busy!?”
But then, one inevitable day, I got a computer virus that wiped out my entire hard drive. Important documents and hundreds of pictures, which I’d failed to back up, vanished in an instant.
Needless to say, I now keep my computer healthy with regular updates and scans.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
Our wise friend from ancient Greece challenges us to scan our lives for purpose and meaning, or risk losing everything. But King David of ancient Israel has a better idea: ask God to do it.
Search me, O God, and know my heart.
After all, heart surgery is best left to the professional. That’s what God told the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
Are you like me, to busy to scan until it’s almost too late? Well, let’s both not be that way anymore. Agreed?
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
As a child I loved to do those connect the dots activity sheets. Maybe you remember them too?
The problem was, at least early on, I didn’t know to follow the numbers in order. My smiling lion looked more like a lumpy ????, because I connected the dots in a random way. Thankfully, I got better at it–once I knew the plan.
God has an agenda–a pattern for each of us to trace in Christ. All we have to do is follow the numbers.
Remember, you are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do some amazing stuff. And the dots are already there!
Not random, PLAN-dom!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The most accurate clock on earth is the US Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I have a little clock at home that is connected to it. Using a low frequency wireless transmission, the US Atomic Clock beams it’s super-accurate time signal straight to my clock’s internal receiver. Viola! Daily updates ensure accuracy to the fraction of a second.
However, something happened recently to shake my faith in the ‘mother of all clocks:’ my little ‘chip off of the old block’ started inexplicably losing time. It was barely noticeable at first, but it was happening surely enough. My supposed super clock no longer agreed with the time on my cell phone, or, more importantly, the microwave.
“Uh oh,” I said to no one in particular, “I guess the subscription to the mother clock ran out.” I took the atomic clock junior off the wall and headed straight for the trash can. Yes, all the clocks in my home must say exactly the same thing. Anyway, just as I was about to drop the clock into oblivion, I saw it–the cover to a tiny compartment containing two AA batteries. You guessed it, I promptly replaced the batteries with fresh ones, and the clock once again keeps perfect time. The problem was on my end, not the source.
Hmm… there’s a life application in here somewhere. King David, of ancient Israel, wrote about it in a prayer to God.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
We know from other texts, that David wrote these words shortly after scandal rocked his kingdom. He had slept with another man’s wife and she was now pregnant. The betrayed husband was one of David’s most loyal military leaders, but the king had him killed to cover up his own sin.
David lost his connection with God. His spiritual batteries ran down and tragedy ensued. He stopped checking in and chose to check out–until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. He desperately needed to reorient himself to God.
As any good carpenter will tell you, even a few degrees off level is a no go. The fact is, it doesn’t take long to become out of plumb with God. Listen to Amos, the Old Testament prophet:
This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
The world has a battery draining effect on our spiritual senses; losing our fellowship connection with God adversely affects the mind, will, and heart. However, we may not even be aware of this–until God asks, “What time is it?”
So what is the solution? The daily check-in and the weekly recharge! Spend time alone with God at least once a day and observe the sabbath each week to replenish spiritual batteries.
Staying in sync with God means maintaining a good connection, just like my little clock does with the US Atomic Clock. Now that I replaced the batteries, that is.
“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.”