Only God knows what is deep inside each one of us. He knows the direction of our hearts when we think, speak and act. I may demonstrate the action of a good deed simply because that is what is expected of me. But God, my Creator, knows me inside and out. So He knows if on certain occasions my conduct looks genuine on the outside but is false on the inside.
God can not be fooled by kind actions or positive words which try to cover up misdirected hearts and unrighteous thoughts.
For forty years, the prophet Jeremiah passionately warned the people of the southern kingdom of Judah and its capital city, Jerusalem, to turn their hearts from sin and follow God. But they refused to listen and eventually king Nebuchadnezzar “rewarded” them for their sin by destroying Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Human hearts are inclined to sin at birth, thanks to Adam and Eve. But that does not mean our only option is to be destroyed like the city of Jerusalem. No – God gives everyone He created a choice to follow Him. He mercifully offers us a choice to enjoy righteous hearts and possess virtuous minds over the evil that lives within us. Jerusalem had that same choice, but they chose wrong.
Approximately six hundred and forty-three years after Jerusalem fell to that Babylonian king, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Romans. In it, he also references the importance of a true heart for God:
Just like Jeremiah, Paul warns of “God’s wrath” if the new Christians in Rome do not offer repentant hearts to God. Also like Jeremiah, Paul did not want anyone to suffer God’s wrath and anger; he wanted everyone to know they could be saved.
However, as history reveals from the destruction of Jerusalem, turning our hearts to God is a choice we have to make individually.
You can not fool God.
Psalm 139:1-6 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Yes, God knows if your conduct is genuine on the outside but false on the inside. In fact Jesus confirmed the religious hypocrisy of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees.
Matthew 23:2-3 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
God’s word tells us how to live righteously. And the feelings deep within our intimate hearts should mesh with any good intent we convey through personal deeds. Like heart muscles require exercise, the more we genuinely understand and act out God’s desire, the greater the chance our outward actions and speech will overflow with love from inside our hearts.
If you would like to change the direction of your heart right now, pray this psalm written by king David during a time he needed to plea for mercy, forgiveness and cleaning from God.
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.