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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - A Clean Heart

Charles Stanley - A Clean Heart

Charles Stanley - A Clean Heart
TOPICS: Heart, Purity, Sincerity, God's will, How to Reach Your Full Potential

Are you excited about your life, or do you find yourself just sorta existing and sorta drifting along and no sense of purpose and no sense of direction? Maybe there was a time when you were excited, but somewhere along the way it all faded away. And now here you are and you probably haven't asked yourself the question lately or maybe you have. But if you ask yourself the question, Why has this happened? What's going on in my life? You may say, Well, when I look at my life, I don't see anything out there worth being excited about. It may be that you look at your vocation or your job and you think, "You know, I can't get any further along than I am now".

You think about your marriage for example and you've lost interest... maybe it's grown stale. You think, I feel so inadequate, I feel so unprepared. You look at your life and everywhere you turn you don't see anything to get excited about. In fact, when you look at it, you think, you ask yourself the question. The truth is you feel sorta plagued about having to live your life the way you are and you're just sorta stuck in your circumstances. And sometimes you wonder, "What's it all worth anyway? Why should I keep on going on this way?" Well, there is a reason because you see there are reasons we feel stuck and there are reasons we feel plagued and there are reasons we feel that we've lost it. That somewhere along the way the excitement and the joy and the happiness that maybe you once had or maybe you've never had it and you've wondered why.

Well, there is a reason. And what I wanna talk about in this series of messages is "How to Reach Your Full Potential". And you see, there's more within you than you realize. And I'm gonna show you in a few moments in the scripture. And when I think about people that I know who've lost it, who have no joy, no real peace, no happiness. And for them life is just one big long bore. And they keep looking for something to change and yet oftentimes they settle down for what I call a settled-for life. And that is they just sorta settle for what they have, where they are in life and they've grown very negative in life.

What I wanna remind you of is this. If you could see yourself today exactly the way God sees you, you wouldn't feel that-a-way at all. You say, "Well, how does God see me"? I can tell you exactly. He sees you through eyes of love and forgiveness, and He sees you not only for what you are, He sees you for the person He made you to be. He sees you with a potential that He's placed within you. He sees you for the possibilities that you have. Once you line up with His will, once you begin to live for His glory and His honor, He sees the awesome potential within you. He sees the radical change that would take place in your life. He sees the restored joy, happiness, peace, contentment, sense of accomplishment, and achievement that you could have in your life. And yet many people will live their whole lives and never experience that.

So what I wanna do is I wanna begin this morning in this series entitled "How To Reach Your Full Potential". And this is the first of a six-series message. And I want you to turn if you will to the hundred and thirty-ninth Psalm and I want us to read just a few verses of this Psalm. And you'll recall this is the Psalm where the Lord, where David for example is speaking. And he talks about the Lord having searched him and how intimately acquainted God is with all of him, all of his parts, and how God is with him. That you cannot escape God, there's no place to flee from Him. And he talks about the presence of God. And one of the things he speaks about in this passage is he speaks about how wonderfully God made us.

And so, beginning if you will in the thirteenth verse, listen to what he says, "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You".

Here's a wonderful passage describing David's understanding of how wonderfully God has made all of us. Now when we talk about potential, for example, what do we mean by potential? That means we're talking about your possibilities. And you see, the truth is you don't know what your potential is. I don't know what mine is, you don't know what yours is. And not only that, none of us know someone else's potential. Now once in a while you will hear someone say, Well, I listened to him, or I heard her or I saw him play this game and they have absolute fantastic potential. Well, we can give some indication of that. But ultimately only God knows what our potential is. Only He knows what the possibilities are that lie within you because He's the One who's placed them there.

And all of us have potential. All of us have possibilities. And you see, they become a living reality in our life when you and I line up with the will of God for our life and seek to live a life that brings honor and glory to God. Now there are many people out there who accomplish a lot of things. Let's face it. And we would say, "Well, you know, they certainly have reached their potential". But listen carefully. You have never reached your potential until you live your life in such a fashion that ultimately you bring honor and glory to God. Now we may accomplish a lot of things as far as the world is concerned. And the world may give you lots of approval and lots of praise. But ultimately God looks on the inside.

And you see, only He sees, only He knows what the possibilities are. Only He knows what the potential is. And whereas we may perform well, and someone may do a fantastic job here, but the question is, what was the real potential? And until we line up with the will of God and seek to bring glory and honor to Him, we'll never fulfill that potential. Every single one of us has within us the adequate potential to achieve and to accomplish the things that God wants us to accomplish in our life. God has made us, listen, with potential within us that we will never discover by simply looking within us. We will only discover it when we line up with His will and begin to walk in the will of God. Then we discover the potential.

You see, it's not that we're gonna be able to sit back and say, Well, here's the potential that I have and God's told me what it is. No, we're not gonna ever discover it until we come to the end of our life and look back. And what will happen? We will look back in awe and surprise and wonder that God could take you just as you are, work in your life the works that He works. Allow you to possess things that you never felt you would possess, become or achieve things in your life that you never even began to dream of. What is that? That is the awesome work of the Hand of God working in you to do what? To bring you to the reality of the person He made you.

Now you say, "Well, what is that purpose"? I don't know all the purposes but I do know this. His ultimate purpose for your life no matter who you are, it has nothing to do with your education. It has nothing to do with your race, your color, your culture. It has nothing to do with your finances. It has nothing to do with your personality. It has to do with this. That God is a God of love who created you with a purpose in mind. And He created you with a, with a plan in mind. The ultimate purpose is to bring Him glory and honor by the life that you live. And the plan that He has for you is a plan that'll bring you contentment and joy and happiness and peace, troubles and trials and difficulties which makes character within our life. But also He's provided everything within you to see that He sustains you through all of that to bring you to become the person He wants you to be and to achieve those things He wants you to achieve in life.

And you see, so many of us are so negative about our life and here's the reason we are. We look at ourselves and we compare ourselves with someone else. Well, their talents and their gifts and their skills and my poor little self. And they look at someone else and say, Well, their education and look at the gifts that, that God has given them. I don't have that. You know what God has given you? He's given you exactly what you need, listen. He says that you and I are skillfully, wonderfully made. That is, listen, He says, not only that, He says, He says we are fearfully, that is awesomely made.

And when I think about so many young people start out their life and, and they look at their lives and think about what they wanna do and what they wanna be, never giving God any thought whatsoever. What a horrible mistake, what a horrible waste to begin your life early with all of your life before you, never stopping to ask the question, what is my potential? What could God do with me if I gave Him my whole life? If I line up with the will of God and surrender my life to bring Him glory and honor in whatever way He chooses to bring that, in ever, whatever way He chooses to bring it to pass, the awesome potential. What a fascinating, exciting discovery to discover what God could do in your life.

And you say, "Well, but now you know what"? I'm at this particular age. It has nothing to do with it. The issue is this. What is your potential now? And I see people putting themselves down all the time. Well you know, if I could and, if this and if that and so forth. And deep down inside, if they just stop and think. You see it's one thing to be ignorant for a season of time but when you hear the truth, you're then responsible. And for every single one of you who is listening, from this point on you're responsible to God. You're hearing the truth that you're wonderfully, skillfully, awesomely made. And that God has placed within you the potential, the possibility of becoming what He had in mind when you were born, before that.

What He had in mind when He decided to create you. It's all there, if you will allow God to work it out and work it into your life. But the question is, are you willing to line up with the will of God? Are you willing to say to Him, I want what You want. I want Your will in every aspect of my life. Or have you decided, you know what, you're gonna live your life without God. You can live your life without God, and I can guarantee you'll end up disappointed, empty, full of discouragement. And you and I know many, many people out there who've lived their lives and they have all the praise the world has to offer. But when you get behind the praise and somebody begins to write about the reality of their life.

Without Christ, something big's missing. You will not reach your potential that God has placed within you if you ignore the Living God, reject His Son. You may do pretty well in some things. Most people won't do well at all. Because that's not the way God made us. He didn't make us to do it on our own. And I wanna show you in a few moments just how adequate He's made you if you will allow Him, listen, if you will allow Him to expose your potentiality by the life that you live.

Now, what I wanna talk about in this message is "A Clean Heart," because a clean heart is absolutely essential to reaching your potential. Now this is the first message. It's more than a clean heart, but this is the first step. You wanna reach your potential for God? You wanna find out what you can become, what God can do in your life? It begins with a clean heart. And you can't begin any other place because that's where we relate to Him.

Now here's the big question. What makes a clean heart? Well, I want you to turn if you will to Ephesians chapter five. Look in Ephesians chapter five. Very interesting what Paul says here, talking about marriage and relationships and so forth, and listen to what he says. He's talking about the husband sanctifying his wife, he says, "Having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word". With the Word of God. Now, I want you to look at this Bible for a moment and let me ask you a question. If somebody held up their Bible and said, well let me ask you, "Why don't you hold yours up and let me ask you a question". Hold 'em up. Just hold 'em up. It won't hurt you, hold 'em up. That's fan, that's a beautiful sight.

Okay, let me ask you. If somebody said, "Hold 'em up". If somebody says, "What is that"? What would you say? Well, that's not very enthusiastic. What is this? It's the Bible. What else do we say it is? It's the Word of God. What cleanses us is the Word of God. Now watch this. I wanna take you through two or three passages of scripture because you see, if I'm gonna reach my potential, my heart's gotta be clean. And when we talk about clean, we're talking about, listen, the pursuit of a clean heart. Now to pursue something means that I seek after it, that I work after it. And that is I set my mind. It's a priority.

Now watch this carefully. You don't wanna miss this because it'll be easy for you to miss this. Say, "Oh, well". Now watch this. Reading the scripture's one thing. I want you to see something deeper than that. The living Word of God has been given to us as an instruction book. It is also a book that has been given us, it's the living Word of God to keep us clean, the washing of the Word of God. Now, as you and I go out in the world and we work, we just naturally get dirty. And so, when you and I live our lives in a given day we can say things we shouldn't. We can have attitudes that should not be there. Or we can think thoughts that are not right or not, not pure, not moral.

So, we all have the potential every single day of getting dirty. It may be a little dirt, and somebody may say, "Well, that's just dust". Well, it's probably worse than that and we think it is, but let's just say whether it's dust or dirt, it's still dirty. So, in our physical bodies we come home and we take a shower, we clean up. In our life that you and I live, we live a life that we have to, listen, we have to maintain a clean heart. It doesn't mean that once and, once and for all there's sinless perfection. You ask God to forgive you, cleanse your heart, and you're clean forever. No. You're only clean as long, watch this. You're only as clean as long as you're making godly decisions. Which means that we can get dirty real fast. And so, what happens is we must maintain a clean heart.

Listen, if we're going to reach our potential, if we're gonna discover what our possibilities are, the Spirit of God works in a clean heart. And therefore, you and I must maintain a clean heart. That is, we must maintain it by our confession and our repentance toward God. But what I want you to see, the most important thing is this. It's the Living Word of God. That's what exposes to me my wrong thinking or my wrongdoing. That's how the washing takes place. As the Word of God speaks to my heart, what happens? The result is my confession and my repentance of, and it's the washing of the Word.

Now I want you to look at, I want us to look at several passages of scripture here that that have to deal with that. And in First Peter chapter two, verse eight for example, there's a phrase here I want you to notice. First Peter chapter two, verse eight, and here's what he says. He says, "For they stumble because they are disobedient to the word". That is the dirt gets in our life because we're disobedient to the Word of God. So if I wanna stay clean, listen, I need to stay in the Word of God. I want you to turn over to Proverbs chapter four for a moment and Proverbs chapter four and look if you will in verse twenty-three.

Proverbs chapter four verse twenty-three, listen to what this text says. He says, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it springs, listen, for from it flows the springs of life". What is he saying? He's saying, watch over your heart, that is, maintain a clean heart. Be careful because remember he says, "Out of this springs life". It's out of our heart, our thoughts, our ideas, our emotions, our feelings, our intentions in life, our motivations. He said keep your heart, watch over it, maintain it with all diligence. That means we have to work at it. We can't take it for granted. We can't be careless about it.

You know one of the reasons that so many people never reach their potential? Because they allow the dirt to accumulate in their heart. Wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, wrong motivations, wrong thinking about themselves, wrong thinking about others, wrong thinking about God. And you know what that does? Quenches the Spirit. Grieves the Spirit of God, quenches the Spirit. And so what happens? The flow of the power of God doesn't... it does not flow. And you know what? You're not gonna reach your potential because the Spirit of God is not going to enable you as long as your heart's dirty. Because remember, His will is to line you up with the will of God because that's His plan, that's the best God could do for you. Line you up with the will of God. And you know what? Can't do that as long as your heart's dirty.

Now you say, "Well, how does that get cleaned up?" Well, I just wanna give you several scriptures here for a moment and well let's go back to the hundred and nineteenth Psalm. Go back to the hundred and nineteenth Psalm and let's look if you will in verse, one hundred and five. That's a big, long Psalm. Look in verse one-o-five. He says, "Your Word," that is the Word of God, "is a lamp to my feet". That means it's opens the way, it shows me the way where I am to walk, "and a light to my path". That is the Word of God is the lamp and the light. You see the lamp, the light goes before me. And when I read the scriptures, I know what to do next. I know what to avoid.

Go back, same Psalm, go all the way back to the eleventh verse and I want you to watch this. Eleventh verse of the hundred and nineteenth Psalm. Listen to what happens. Eleventh verse says, now watch this: "Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You". Now notice what he said. He didn't say, Your word have I read. It's not enough to read it. Treasured in my heart. Let me ask you, what do you own that you treasure? You certainly should treasure your relationship to God and your abilities, talents, skills, but there are probably some things you treasure. The more you treasure something what happens? The more diligent you are about taking care of it.

What does he say? Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. What is he saying? He's saying, listen, the absorption of God's Word. Reading it, taking it in, the application of God's heart does what? Keeps me from sinning against God. And when I do sin against God, it exposes that sin and then does what? Remind me, it reminds me of confession and repentance. The cleansing process takes place. The Spirit of God is free. We begin to reach, listen. What happens is when that becomes a process in your life, what you are doing is you are maintaining a clean heart. "Your Word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You."

Now go back if you will to the hundred and thirty-ninth Psalm. And I want you to look at a couple of verses here. Back to the hundred and thirty-ninth Psalm and the last couple of verses in this Psalm. He says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way". You see, that's what happens when you and I begin to, listen, to allow the Word of God to make its application in our heart. It shows us what's there that ought not to be. It brings us to the Spirit.

"Search me oh God. How does He search us? With His Word. Know my heart. Try me. Know my anxious thoughts. That is, that is, show me how to lay my life before Your Word and see if it matches up to the Word. See if there be any hurtful way in me, and then lead me in the everlasting way. Line me up with Your will so that my life will bring You glory and honor."

Lying within you is all that possibility, all that potentiality that God has placed within you. Because you see He knows exactly what you could become. He knows exactly what He's made you possibly, listen, to achieve in life. And the question is, do you want to know? If you want to know, you want to discover that, then the first thing you have to do is get your heart cleaned up. Trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Surrender your life to the Living Lord Jesus Christ. And tell Him that you want to be obedient to Him. And you trust the Holy Spirit to live within you.

Listen, to enable you. You can't live it yourself, we all know that. It is relying upon Him, depending upon Him. What will He do? He will show us the wrong way and He'll show us the right way. He will enable us and strengthen us. He will, listen, He will give us the skills and abilities and talents that we need. They're already lying there, capable of becoming and doing what God has in mind. The question is, do you care enough? Do you want to discover that? Do you wanna be the person God wants you to be? Do you want to line up with His will? Do you wanna bring Him glory and honor in your life? Are you willing... listen, are you willing to take the risk of surrendering your life to Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to begin to unfold in you, change you, release in you, demonstrate to you, show you, manifest to you all that you're capable of becoming and doing?

If you're willing to line up with the will of God, that's exactly what He's willing to do. Where does it begin? Getting cleaned up. The cleansing of the heart. Thy Word have I treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You. Why? Because God knows and all through the Word we can look at passage after passage after passage. What's God talking about? Walking obediently before Him. Living a holy life, maintaining a clean pure heart. What did Jesus say? "Blessed are the pure in heart, they're the ones who'll see God". Blessed are the pure in heart because listen, watch this. It isn't only we'll see God when we get to Heaven. Blessed are the pure in heart who will see God at work in their life every single day.

Listen, He's not reserved that 'till one of these days we die and go to heaven. Blessed are the pure in heart, those who maintain a clean heart, they shall see God today, in this situation, that circumstance, in this relationship, in that job, in this pleasure, in this hobby, in this habit, whatever it may be. Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God. That is, you will experience, you will see the hand of God. You'll experience God working in your life, bringing your potential to reality, bringing the possibilities to actuality in your life. That's what He's willing to do. That's what He desires to do. That's why He created you. Wonderfully, skillfully, awesomely created you.

Now do you want to end up your life saying, "If I'd-a"? If I'd-a just listened. If I'd-a just applied what I heard. If I'd-a this and if I'd-a that. Or do you wanna one day end up your life and look back in absolute amazement and think, "Oh God, I would never have believed You brought me through that". My! God, how I'm amazed that You, that You enabled me to do that. I'm amazed that You worked this in my life. I'm amazed God, what You did over here. Or do you wanna end up saying, "If I'd-a"? Oh God, if I'd-a this and if I'd-a that. It's a choice we make.

And you see, none of us can take credit for anything. It's the work of God in our hearts. He's the one who created you wonderfully, skillfully, awesomely. He's the one who put that capacity within you. All of your potential, all of your possibility lying within you, ready to be released moment by moment. Day after day, year after year growing in your relationship to Him. Listen, you discovering what He's able to do in your life. If you don't like who you are, the wisest thing you can do is to place your trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, tell Him you're surrendering your life to Him today at this very moment.

And you're trusting that the Holy Spirit whom He promised will now indwell you. And from this moment on you want Him to have absolute free sway in your life. Whatever He does is fine with you. And you know what? You're gonna discover that whatever He does in your life is better than fine. That's the choice. And I guess if there's one thing that grieves my heart is to see people that I can see with my very short-sighted vision who have such potential, such possibilities, wasting away their life. Watch this, on the world's frills, wasting away fantastic talent and ability and skills in ways that bring them the world's honor, but not God's.

And I think about how many churches are full of Christians, full of believers, who are nowhere close to even trying to discover what their potential is. Looking for somebody else to do it when God created you to serve Him, line you up with His will, and then discover what He's willing to do in your life. Is that what you want? Are you willing to be satisfied, living your life? And you see some of you are gonna live your life, all of your life without God.

And here's what you're gonna discover. And there are people who are very capable, very skillful, and very, very outstanding. Here's what's gonna happen. But when you live your life without God and you come to the end of the way, it's not after death. You come to the end of the way, all of a sudden, you're gonna realize that all the praise and honor and glory and wealth the world had to offer, you're gonna open your hands and discover it is nothing but pure ashes. The only thing left in the hand of a life without God at the end of the way is ashes.

That's all. That's not the way you wanna live. That's not the way you wanna end up, but it's a choice you make. You end up, listen, with the awesome approval of the Lord Jesus Christ or you end up with ashes and eternal separation from God. God grant you the wisdom, my friend, to choose right now to tell the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. No more of this half-hearted living. I'm laying aside this carnal life. I'm tired of just doing pretty good. I'm tired of excusing my sinfulness, my disobedience. Today I lay it all down because I wanna find out just what God had in mind the moment He created me.
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