I recently went back and read a sermon I’ve long remembered by a friend and mentor, Ben Tyson. I always remember the sermon because Ben helped to answer a question I often wondered about, “Why was King David—a man whose life was marked by moments of great faithfulness and wisdom but was also tainted by such sins as adultery and murder—referred to in the Bible as ‘a man after God’s own heart.’” I know, like David, I am tainted by my own sins, but I want more than anything to be a “woman after God’s own heart.” So, I like learning more about what that means and how, amidst my sin struggles, that’s still possible for me. One of the keys Ben noted to moving toward this is valuing close relationship with God.
Unlike any other religion or god, the God of the Bible desires relationship with His people. If you read the Bible, you’ll see this truth is evident throughout its pages. It’s how God created things to be in the beginning when He dwelled in the garden with Adam and Eve. It’s what He sought with the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. It’s what we continually mess up and what Jesus came and died to restore. And, it’s what He promises those who love Him will experience perfectly and eternally in heaven (Revelation 21:3). God cares a lot about our relationship with Him, and David definitely did too. We know this about David, because just as you’d expect to see in any healthy human relationship, he invested time in his relationship with God—learning about Him, talking to Him through prayer, and sharing with Him his deepest thoughts, hurts, and fears. He asked for God’s direction and listened to His response. He delighted in God’s Law, not just to understand it but also to better know God’s heart. When he sinned, He came with a broken and contrite spirit to repent and to seek forgiveness and relational restoration. He praised and gave thanks to God regularly. And, he was eager to share God’s love with others.
Additionally, as you’d expect in healthy human relationships, David’s relationship with God was not coerced or forced. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” The Lord isn’t just barging in and taking over, He’s knocking and beckoning us to answer—to let him in and to be in relationship with Him. And, as Ben says in his sermon, “notice what happens if we do let him in…it says that we share meals together. This is another way of saying that we enter into close relationship. We talk about real things, we laugh, we cry, we share life together.”
Jesus stands at the door of my life daily and knocks. He wants me to invite Him in—into the BIG things, into the little things, into the hard things, into the joyful things. Many times, I am eager to open the door and seek His advice and wisdom and share my joys and worries. But there remain times in my life when I’m not so eager to open it—especially when I have a plan of how I want things to go, and I may not really want Him to come in and change it—or times in my life when I’m just too busy or too self- absorbed to hear or to pay attention to His knocking.
But, what I see in King David is a heart that is eager to let the Lord in and to spend time in relationship with his Savior. And, since God’s heart is to have relationship with us, it would make sense that the Bible describes David as “a man after God’s own heart.” This month, I am praying the Lord would help me be a woman after His own heart by tuning my ears to more readily hear his knocking, by increasing my eagerness and openness to letting Him in, and by adding to my joy as He grows me in my relationship with Him. As the lyrics of an old hymn say, “What a friend we have in Jesus!” Indeed, He is the greatest friend we’ll ever know. So, let’s open the door and let him in!
By Katie Miller
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