An “- oscopy” that could add years of spiritual richness and fruitfulness to one’s life, and heart satisfaction…
“Have you ever had a colonoscopy?” “How long has it been since you last had a colonoscopy?” These are questions which we “Baby-boomers” never heard when we were younger – not even among our parents. But nowadays, they are common enough, especially when someone over 50 goes to the doctor for a physical! Simply put for those who might need the term explained, a colonoscopy is a medical procedure where a person empties his/her colon by avoiding certain foods several days before the appointment, then drinks a lot of a certain product that purges the colon – hopefully thoroughly, so that the doctor can clearly see what is in it. Then the patient goes to a clinic and, under sedation, a doctor examines the entire colon with a scope to see if there be anything harmful in it that would cause health problems in the future (e.g., pre-cancerous or cancerous polyps). For those of us who have undergone this procedure, it is a great relief to receive the report that all is well in that part of our bodies! This particular examination has been highly recommended by doctors now for quite a long time, maybe 20 years; and some people who have a history of gastro-intestinal issues in their family, are advised to have it done every 5-7 years! It’s not a bad idea, and it has spared many from being afflicted with colon cancer and other intestinal diseases, which could potentially have shortened their lives. But let’s consider another kind of ” – oscopy” that, if allowed, could add years of quality and meaningful living, spiritual richness and fruitfulness to one’s life, and heart satisfaction.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Psa.139:23a)
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David somehow understood that the cleanness of his heart was critical. Perhaps he had heard and taken seriously what Jeremiah had written about the condition of the human heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart … ” (Jer.17:9,10a). So he cried out to Him to search and know his heart, and to “see if there be any wicked way in me” (Psa.139:24a). We read something similar to this plea in Psalm 19: “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me of secret faults [ i.e., faults that he knew nothing of but wanted to be cleansed of]” (v.12). The end of both of these passages reveals that David knew that only with a heart cleansed by God could the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart be acceptable, pleasing to the Lord (Psa.19:14), and only with a clean heart could he be led in the way everlasting (Psa.139:24b). But how did the Lord accomplish this cleansing?
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Just as “the prep” is needed for a successful colonoscopy, so is preparation essential so that the heart can be cleansed, corrected, and clearly observed. One huge difference between the two, however, is that in the former it is the patient who carries out the prep and cleansing; with the latter it is the Lord. Furthermore, it is He Who after doing all that is needed with the prep, performs the procedure. So from beginning to end HE does the work. Ezra in Psalm 119:67 and 72 declares: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word.” “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” It is clear throughout the Scriptures that the Lord uses affliction (e.g., sickness, persecution; financial, relational, familial difficulties) to purge the heart of impurities. Ezra mentions that before trouble came, he strayed from God’s Word, but when afflicted he turned again to the Scriptures. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom.10:17); and it is by faith that our hearts are purified (Acts 15:9). Also, Jesus told His disciples: “Now are you clean through the Word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). So now what happens once the heart is cleansed?
The Examination and Results
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The Lord now searches the heart of His child and finds only Himself. “You are all fair, My love, there is no spot in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7). “You are complete in Me” (Col.2:10) ” … the Father in Me, I in you, and you in Me” (John 14:20). He Whose eyes search throughout the whole earth to find a heart that is loyal to Him sees this purified, cleansed heart and declares, “There’s one! I will show Myself strong on his behalf!” (II Chron.16:9) Here now is a believer who is as He is, experientially, because he is now hiding the Word of God richly in his heart (which has been cleansed of hurtful, vain thoughts), storing It up in the chambers of his heart; and because he is now thinking the Word in his heart, he is becoming the Word to others (Prov.23:7).
Be still and know that the Great Physician does all things well.
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Asaph complained in Psalm 73:13, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain…”. We would likewise say the same thing, if we didn’t know that only the Lord could perform the cleansing of our hearts. His anesthesia during the procedure is simply the Holy Spirit filling us, humbling us under the Mighty Hand of the Great Physician, giving us Grace to rest in what He is doing – for our spiritual well-being. “He does all things well” and will do a thorough work in our hearts because He alone knows them. Because we are not unconscious while He works on us, we can talk to Him when our hearts are overwhelmed with the affliction that He allows, the trouble which He knows will burn off dross from our hearts and make them enlarged and hungrier for the pure Word of God. We can trust Him always, though He slay us. Be still and know that He is the most thorough “cardio-enterologist”. We will not only survive this procedure; we will come forth from it cleansed, filled, yielded to the One in Whose Hand are our hearts, the One Who now will turn them wherever, however He desires without any resistance from us.
Yes, my heart might fail, “but God is the strength of my heart, and my Portion forever!” (Psalm 73:26)