The Bible says man looks at the outward appearance but God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord cares how a person acts on the outside, but He is more concerned with the condition of a person’s heart. This is because out of the heart comes forth every action. “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…”(Matthew 15:18-20).
The Lord is focused on the condition of our heart, which begins to change when we are born again (accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior); but sanctification is a lifetime refining process where each individual must surrender themselves to the Holy Spirit’s work within them. It is important that each of us seeks the Lord, asking Him to show us the matters in our hearts that need adjusting, and then allow Him to bring forth the change within us.
Proverbs 17:3 says; “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.” Through the circumstances of life we often find out what is truly in our hearts. When times get tough, and we walk through difficult circumstances, this is when we are “tested by the fire” and our true hearts come to the surface. This is why gold is brought through the furnace, to bring all of the impurities to the surface and become refined gold. For us, these “trials by fire” are opportunities to see what is inside of us, and to make changes. God already knows our hearts, but through trial and tribulation we find out what He already knows is there. Then as we obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance in how He wants us to respond to these circumstances, we are surrendering more of ourselves to the Lord and His work of sanctification within us. This is how we change!
In Psalm 26 David prayed to the Lord “examine me, oh Lord and prove me; try (test) my mind and my heart.” King David was a man after God’s own heart and he knew the importance of asking the Lord to search out his heart and mind for refining. This is true humility. As you seek the Lord, He will show you the conditions of your heart that He desires to change. And as you lend yourself to the process through submitting and surrendering to the Holy Spirit, and walking through the trials (tests) He places before you, you will come out on the other side of the process as pure gold refined by the fire. It is through obeying the Lord’s voice and surrendering to the Holy Spirit during this process that the work will take place. You can start by praying this prayer aloud to Him;
Dear Lord Jesus,
I welcome You into my heart to be the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sins and wash me clean with Your blood. Reveal to me the conditions of my heart that You desire to change; and I welcome the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct me through the process of sanctification. I know that as I pass the tests that You place before me I will become pure of heart, and will be able to walk in Your ways and receive all of the blessings You have for me in my life.
In Jesus Name I Pray,