In Acts 13:22, Paul describes the special relationship between God and David through God’s words: “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will”. This famous phrase has been passed down and we even use it today when describing our relationship with others. For instance, if my daughter, Ellie, comes up to me and says, “Dad, I want to go outside and play baseball with you” then I may say, “Ellie, you are a girl after my own heart”. The truth is that the very next day she may say, “Dad, I really want to go shopping for some shoes, which would likely lead me to say, “Ellie, you are a girl after your mom’s own heart.” To continue with this point – if I take Ellie to play baseball outside but her heart is set on shopping for shoes, then she’s going to be distracted and probably not have much fun. Likewise, if she goes shopping with her mom but wishes she was playing baseball then their trip will probably not be that enjoyable nor will it accomplish very much. So when God saw David, who would do His will, it doesn’t mean that God finally found someone that He could control. It meant that, in David, God found a person who shared His desires and shared His vision because their hearts were aligned.
As we think through our place in this same narrative of redemption the question should be, “has your heart been aligned with the heart of God?” “Are you someone after God’s own heart?” And as we seek to know and believe the wonders of the Gospel, it is important to recognize that David remained a man after God’s own heart and never lost this status, even after horrific sinfulness. Therefore this is not a question of, “do you have a perfect heart?” or “have you rid your heart of all evil?” Instead there are other, biblical ways of discerning whether or not you have this special type of relationship with the Lord and I’ll give you three of them.
First, do you know what God loves and are you spending time understanding that? David did that often and in Psalm 19 we hear David say, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple…more to be desired than gold …sweeter than honey” (Psalm 19:8,10). David loved the Word of God and he loved being on God’s wavelength and he found himself there by exposing himself to God’s Word or as he puts it: “the law of the Lord”.
Second, do you love your community? Do you want to see salvation, redemption, restoration, and reconciliation where God has placed you? God loves those things. He loves for communities to be cities on a hill, for families to be restored, children to be cared for, and the poor lifted up. If you love those things then God has aligned and is aligning your heart with His heart.
Third, for our hearts to be after God’s own heart, they must consistently be made new. In Psalm 51, David said “Create in me a clean heart O God.” This doesn’t mean we need to be re-saved or re-justified but it does mean that we need the Holy Spirit to continue forming us and helping us die to the old and live unto Christ. We need to be aware that even a heart after God’s own heart is a heart that is very unlike the heart of God and it constantly needs His work and it constantly needs to be led, by the Spirit, to a place of repentance and dependence on the Gospel of Jesus.
– Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Clanton, AL. His column appears each Thursday.