Joyce Meyer - Characteristics Of A Perfect Heart
Tonight, I want to talk to you about the importance of the condition of your heart. What is the condition of your heart? And I'm not talking about your physical heart. I'm talking about the heart of man, the deepest part of our being, what God calls our heart.
Are you content? What's going on in there? Are you trusting God even though there are things in your life that you don't understand? Or maybe is your heart full of confusion and just not so content in there? Are you happy for other people when they're blessed? How about when they get what you want, and you don't get it? You still happy?
You trust God enough to say, "Well, God, if you didn't give that to me, then it's not right for me yet, and you've got something better in mind for me. And I know you love me, and you'll never leave me out of your blessings." And it's so good to have a happy heart. It's so good to have a trusting heart.
How much suspicion you got running around in there? Are you angry at someone? Is there resentment in your heart? Are you maybe just a little bit upset with God because life hasn't turned out quite like you expected it to?
You have some criticisms and judgment, some lustful thoughts. You know, God calls us to have a perfect heart. And the word "Perfect" can be very frightening to us, but I can tell you this, that I don't believe as long as we're in a human body we'll ever have perfect behavior, but I do believe that we can have a perfect heart.
You're not sure, but that's okay. And it happens through growing, through growing. None of us have arrived, but we can grow. And I believe that God would rather have somebody with a perfect heart--and let's just say for a minute that a perfect heart is somebody who wants to do what's right with all your heart, okay?
So see, when I said you can have a perfect heart, you all went... I mean, some of you clapped, but you were kind of like... But see, I don't do what's right in every situation every day of my life. Matter of fact, every day I probably don't do something right. But I want to do what's right. Amen?
And if you want to do what's right, and probably a lot of you feel that way or you probably wouldn't be out here tonight. I mean, unless you did just go--you like events, or you like whatever's at the dome, or I don't know, you know. You just think I'm a funny lady or whatever, so you know.
But usually people who will come to something like this after they've worked all day, and some of you've traveled and you've gotten hotels and stuff, you want to learn, you want to grow, you know.
But I want you to keep in mind as we're here tonight that we're not only talking to you, but there are literally millions of people that are hearing this same message all over the world. And I'm pretty convinced that, out of all of those people, that there's probably a few whose attitude is not, "I really want to do everything right."
And so, hopefully what I say tonight will help some of us to realize that, until we want what God wants, we're never going to be happy. Until we want what God wants, we're never going to be happy.
Now, we all spend a lot of time trying to get God to give us what we want. But until we want what God wants more than we want what we want, until you want what God wants more than you even want what you want, until you can say to God and mean it, "This is what I'd like to have God, but please don't give it to me if it's not what You want me to have." Ooh hoo!
I'm going to go over here and talk to these people. I want to encourage that's a symptom of a perfect heart. "God, this is what I'd like to have. I want this." You can ask for anything. "But God, if it's not what You want me to have, then don't give it to me because, even though I want that, I want what You want more than I want what I want."
Now, that's a power prayer right there. And that was worth your car ride down here. Because I can tell you, if you go home and start praying that, mm mm mm, boy, some good stuff is going to happen.
Now, I've got seven characteristics of a perfect heart that I'm going to try to talk to you about tonight. And I know Dave is already laughing because what usually happens is I teach on two or three, and then I fast forward through the rest. But at any rate, we'll get going here and see what God does.
So, first scripture we want to look at is 2 Chronicles chapter 16, and I'm going to begin in "At that time Hanani the seer," he was a prophet, "Came to Asa the king of Judah and said to him, 'because you relied on the king of Syria and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.'"
So, because he relied on a human king instead of relying on God, he lost the battle. Let me put it a little plainer. Because he relied on his counselor that he goes to every week instead of relying on God, not that there's anything wrong with getting counseling, but you better go to God first. Amen?
"Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge host with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied then on the Lord, He gave them into your hand." So, now he's reminding him of another time in battle where he said, "Now, you won that battle, and they were a mighty host, because you relied on the Lord."
Do you know if we rely on God, I don't care how big the battle is, all things are possible with God. And greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. And no weapon formed against you shall prosper. And I could go on and on and on. Amen?
But we got to learn to go to God. And it's a symptom of having a perfect heart, where we always put God first all the time. Now, God uses people to help us, there's no doubt about that. He uses people to speak to us. And you maybe have been going to God for some answers in your life that Ge's going to bring through my mouth tonight.
We partner with God. We're partners with God in life. God uses you to bless me, He uses me to bless you, and so on and so forth. But we get nothing that makes any sense from anybody if we don't go to God first.
Here's a little example. I used to have a bad habit, like if I was down and I needed to be encouraged, I would expect Dave to pick up on that, read my mind. You know, women want men to read their minds. Have any of you guys noticed that?
Okay. But not to be rude, but you don't have a clue. You're just, you know, clueless. And so, I would get mad at Dave because he wasn't encouraging me and making me feel better. And God taught me, when I needed encouragement, to go to Him. "God, I need encouragement. Encourage me. Do it supernaturally or through whoever You want, but encourage me."
And then sometimes God would use Dave, and then sometimes He'd use somebody else. But see, if we don't start going to God first, trusting Him to use whoever He wants to, we're going to be mad at somebody all the time because there's always going to be somebody that's not giving us what we think they ought to give us to make us feel better in our life.
Now, he goes on to say in verse 9, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." God is looking for somebody. "To show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless," or perfect, "Toward Him."
So, the eyes of God roam to and fro across the earth, looking for someone with a perfect heart. Not a perfect performance, but a perfect heart. And when God finds that, then Ge says, "I can show my strength in your life." Amen?
A perfect heart. Now, there are people who can put on a good show, but their hearts are still real stinky. Bad hearts and religious behavior, God hates it. Amen? They go to church all the time, they do this and this. But the only ones that can come into the presence of God, into His holy hill, according to Psalm 24, are those who have clean hands and a pure heart.
God wants us to do right, but out of a pure heart. If we're just doing right and our hearts are not right, then what we do means nothing to God. Very simple example. Matthew chapter 6, it's all over the place. When you give, don't blow a trumpet before you like the hypocrites do, hoping that they'll be seen of men.
So, when we give, we don't call attention to ourself. When we do good things for people, we don't call attention to ourself. When we pray, we don't do it to get attention because if I'm doing what I'm doing for somebody else because I want to get attention from them, then I'm not doing it for God at all. I've left God out.
But if we do what we do unto the Lord, then the Bible says that God rewards us in front of the people. But if we do it to impress the people, then the Bible says in Matthew 6, "You have your reward in full already."
A story that I tell and haven't told it for a little bit, so I'll tell it tonight. Many, many years ago, I used to get my fingernails done at a certain place. And one day, the girl was doing my nails, and there was another girl waiting to get hers done. And we were talking, and she said she was a nurse in a cancer unit.
And a little bit of conversation, we figured out we were all Christians, and she said, "It's so hard to see people in the condition they're in and not be able to, you know, tell them about Jesus. We're not allowed to talk to them about God. And that's just so hard with the needs that they have."
And I had this rather sizable rhinestone Jesus pin. And the thought just came to me, "I should give her that," because if she would wear it on her uniform, then whenever she bent over the patients, they would see that name. And just that name would be a blessing to them.
So, I kind of felt like, you know, I should do it in secret. But I didn't know how I could do that because there was another girl doing my nails was sitting there. And just suddenly, the girl got up that was doing my nails and she said, "I have to run next door to the supply house," which happened to be right next door to her shop, "And get some of this powder that I ran out of for your nails."
Well, I knew that I knew that I knew that God was opening the door for me to do it in secret. But see, my heart wasn't so good, and I wanted to get some attention. So, I waited just long enough for her to come back and then I made a display. "Oh, you know, I felt like God told me to give you this".
Of course, they all thought I was wonderful, and my flesh was just... come on, you know how your flesh puffs up... And just feels so good. Just feels so good. And honestly, you know, God does speak to you at times. How many of you know that, that God does speak to you in that still, small voice? And I heard very clearly in my heart, "I hope you enjoyed that because that's all you're getting."
So, we can do good things. But if we do them to be seen of people, or to be noticed, or to be admired, then that's not doing it from a perfect heart. When you do something good, somebody may see you, but that shouldn't be your motive. Hallelujah? How many of you know the flesh likes to be seen? The flesh loves clapping, oh. I get so much clapping in my life, and my flesh loves it. And then I have to go home and try to pray it off of me, you know. "God, we know that I'm not nearly as wonderful as everybody thinks I am."
All right, "Then Jesus said to the multitudes and to his disciples, 'the scribes and the pharisees sit on Moses' seat [of authority]. So observe and practice all they tell you, but don't do what they do, for they preach, but they do not practice. They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help anybody. They do all their works to be seen of men.'"
So, God really just does not like that religious spirit that can get on people that makes them act like they think they're better than everybody else, be judgmental and critical, but won't lift a finger to help anybody when they really have a need in their life. Amen?
Matthew 23:25 through 28, "Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)." Now, you know, Jesus wasn't always just roses and candy. "Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites). For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within, you're full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-indulgence. You blind pharisees. First clean the inside of the cup," the heart. "First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, and then the outside will be clean also."
See, what He's telling us is, if we get a right heart, then it's going to show up out here. We need to work on our heart condition, and then good works with right motives are going to follow that right heart condition.
Now, can I just throw out for good measure that having a meeting with yourself a couple times a week is a good idea? Have a meeting with yourself, and ask God to shine His light on your heart to show you anything you've got in there that shouldn't be in there. And trust me, He'll be happy to do it.
And not under condemnation, but so we can say, "Well, God, let's work together then to get this right because I don't want to keep this bitterness. I don't want to be mad at anybody. I don't want to be jealous. I don't want to be like that. That's having a right heart. I don't want to be like this. Change me, God, change me. I don't want to be like this."