When God told Samuel that “…man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart,” what did He mean by “the heart?” What was He looking for in the heart? From the testimony of David, we know that He first looks for “cleanness of heart,” “…Create in me a CLEAN heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) Only God can cleanse our hearts, by the blood of Christ…and He will do this for the one who has a right attitude towards sin, and towards God. But, then David writes of a, “…right spirit within me.” What is he talking about? He is talking about a right ATTITUDE of heart with regard to belonging to God, being fully surrendered, and whole-hearted in faith. David was a man who was characterized by an attitude of being willing to do all the will of God. And though he was a man with failures, sins, and shortcomings, he knew where to go for cleansing (thorough cleansing), and for that intervention of God which would enable him to in essence get back to the cross, to a life of faith and surrender, to a right heart attitude. A right heart is a clean heart. It is also a whole heart, devoted, committed, and resolved to do the will of God, and resigned to accept the of God.
What are the benefits of such a heart? David writes in Psalm 24, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that clean hands, and a pure heart?” (v.3-4) The greatest honor and privilege, and eternal benefit to the believer is being able to draw near to God, and to commune with God. The “clean hands and a pure heart” are prerequisite for this. Then David goes further: “(To the one who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully…)…He shall receive the blessing of the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (v.5) What is this “blessing of the Lord?” We are talking about God being active, real, personally engaged in the life. If we go to the New Testament, we are talking about this in a more amplified manner, where Christ is the Life, and the blessing of that Life, revealed to the heart of the believer. And, miracle of miracles, the very Life of Christ by the Spirit is revealed THROUGH the life. This is blessing indeed…this is victory.
Charles Wesley put it so well when he wrote, both as a hymn, and also, as a prayer:
“Oh for a heart to praise my God, a heart from sin set free, a heart that’s sprinkled with the blood, so freely shed for me.
“A heart resigned, submissive, meek, my dear Redeemer’s throne; Where only Christ is heart to speak, where Jesus reigns alone.”
“A humble, lowly, contrite heart, believing, true and clean; Where neither death nor life can part from Him that dwells within.”