Advent Devotional 12/3
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23–24, NIV)
One of the most important things we can do during Advent is to take inventory of our inner person. The things that will derail us from fulfilling God's purposes are not usually external but internal.
Jesus said, "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." (Matthew 15:18–19, NIV)
This is why David the Psalmist asked God to search his heart. We are often unaware of the state of our own hearts. We go about our day busily, not giving much thought to what is happening inside us. We cover up anxiety, anger, hurt, fear, and other unhealthy thoughts and emotions with work or activity. But when we do not deal with the turmoil in our hearts, it can influence our days in ways we do not intend.
Sometimes we carry deep wounds that are triggered by certain situations or interactions. We react rather than respond. God can heal deep wounds if we invite him to work in us. Even if you do not carry deep wounds, it is a healthy exercise to allow God to show us the state of our hearts so that we do not give Satan a foothold.
When we are healed in our hearts, and if we have good, healthy strategies to deal with the stressors of life, we can live out of a state of true peace. This is God's desire for his children.
Take a moment to pray and allow God to show you the state of your own soul. Then let him heal you!
Loving Father, I invite you to examine my heart and soul. See if there is any unhealthy or offensive thing in me. I invite you to do a work of healing in my soul. Heal me from deep seated hurts, past hurts, long-suffered hurts. Take away the triggers in my soul, those that respond to the stressors of this life. Allow me to experience true peace, soul peace. As you apply the balm of your love and grace, teach me to stop turning to sin and worldliness. Heal me of my addictions. Help me to change my habits. Put safeguards and healthy boundaries in my life. Protect me from the traps and deceptions of the evil one.
And as you make me whole, I offer back to you my worship and my devotion. I will rejoice in you. I will enjoy our friendship. I will delight in you.
Thank you for beginning a good work in my life. I trust wholeheartedly that you will bring that good work to completion in your time.
In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.