Day 4: A Clean Heart
Thursday, February 10, 2022
Yesterday, we focused on what it means to have a right heart before God. The only way to develop that kind of heart is through prayer. This is why we must intentionally seek time alone with God (Matthew 6:6), as that is where our inner world of the heart is formed. As said in the previous days: biblically speaking, our heart is our inner self. That includes our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, desires, and will.
In a world full of sin and distractions, it can be a challenge to remain pure before God. The seed of our sinful behavior always begins there, in that secret place inside us. That is why the greatest battles we face are often internal, as our greatest spiritual battleground is in our hearts. But when our inner world is in proper order from spending time with Him, that which occurs around us can never defile us.
Mark 7:14-15, 20-23
“Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. ‘All of you listen,’ he said, ‘and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.…’
And then he added, ‘It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.’”
We need Jesus to reshape our hearts to be more like him, as it is the condition of our hearts that matters most to God. For this reason, we are focusing our attention inward during our first week of prayer and fasting. Our ability to live like Jesus flows from the inside out. It takes time alone with God in prayer to surrender the elements inside of us that are not aligned with His will and way. It is always what is inside of us that needs the most correction.
That’s why we take time and energy through prayer and fasting to bring our hearts before God and ask Him to change us. Consider what an undefiled heart before God looks like for you. What would it mean for you to have victory over sinful, unhelpful, and unwanted thoughts, beliefs, and feelings? What parts of your inner world need to change for that to happen?
Ask Jesus to show you what might be defiling your heart. Spend some time prayerfully looking inside yourself. Write down what He’s showing you. Surrender each of those areas by name to Him. Pray the “Search Me” prayer from Psalm 139:23-24.
Prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
By Dave Mann
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