I’ve never liked the idea of “looking within myself” to find life’s answers. The focus on “me” seems to be unbiblical in some ways. I grew up in the “me” generation of the 60’s where it was chic to abandon life’s responsibilities and “get our motors running and head out on the highway.” One of the most popular movies in that era was “Easy Rider.” That social experiment of the 60’s was a failure. I know many from that era who “fired all their guns at once” and truly did “explode into space” (quote from Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”). But there are passages in the Bible which point to my need to understand myself in some ways. The wisest man in the world tells me that I can learn some interesting things about myself if I study my “heart.” He says, “As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man” (Proverbs 27:19).

I’m not suggesting, nor do I believe the Bible teaches, that we can completely know our hearts. It’s a much deeper subject than we might imagine. The heart is the seat of all our emotions, reasons, and motives. Jeremiah teaches us that the “heart is desperately wicked.” He then goes on to ask, “who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The assumption in that Hebrew question is that no one can really completely know or fully understand the depth of man’s depravity. That’s why David spent so much time in prayer. One of his key prayers is found in Psalm 139. In verse 23 of that great prayer, David pleads with God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.” He goes on to pray for the purging of any wickedness that would be found within. We all must come to grips with our own sinfulness. This drives us to the Cross of Christ. We need a savior. Jesus died to pay for our sins and he has provided a new life, a life of meaning and purpose that marks the fulfillment of God’s purpose for our lives.

When Solomon talks about seeing who we really are in our hearts, he’s saying we get to understand how God has shaped us, formed us, even in our mother’s womb, to serve His purpose in the world and generation in which we live. Finding the following a heart passion is not an easy thing. One would think that it’s readily apparent, but it isn’t always that way. I believe the key is to spend time with God, His Word, and an open mind in prayer. Hebrews 4:12 teaches us that “God’s Word examines the thoughts and motives of our hearts.” To James, God’s Word, is the mirror in which we can find ourselves. I’m sure you’ve heard Socrates’ quote, “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Even Paul tells the Galatians that each person “must examine his or her own work” if they are to find true satisfaction in a job well done (Galatians 6:4). I love the American Heart Association’s motto: Search your heart: Learn and Live! We should search our hearts and Love, Learn, and Live!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart…and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24