Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, May thirtieth. Maybe you felt a little distance growing in your relationship with Jesus.
That can change if you want it to. Today's podcast reveals the five characteristics of a man or woman with a heart for God. I remember as a kid, I used to like going through the cemetery and my friends and I being a little bit mischievous. And just read the signs on the tombstones. And this is one I'd never forgotten because of a thought I had.
The one that said, that said all kind of things and most of them just had somebody's name the day of their birth and day of their death. But I remember this one most of all, gone but not forgotten. And then I would think, I wonder how many people would like to have really said gone and are we glad. So, you never know what people think about you. And you think about this, that you're over in the corner and your spirit and your body's in the casket and your family's all around. And they're trying to figure out what to put on your tombstone.
And just listening to them talk, wonder what they'd say about you if they were over here trying to figure out, now what are we going to put on this tombstone besides his name or her name and when they were born and when they died. So, the truth is, all of us are going to leave some kind of a witness or testimony of some sort. And the question is, what kind of person do we want to be?
And what do we want to be remembered for? What kind of person can we be? What are the characteristics of a person, a man or a woman, who has a heart after God? So, I want to give you those, which I believe is clear in the Scripture. And then I want us to look at all of these in the light of who we are and the fact that you and I have the Holy Spirit living within us who will enable us to overcome sin, who will enable us to become the persons God wants us to be and that we desire to be. So, what is that first quality that was so evident in David's life?
And that's this. He placed the priority of his life on his personal relationship with God. A person with a heart after God is a person whose priority is their personal relationship with Him. And when I look around and see how people think and how they live their lives and oftentimes claim to be Christians, I know in my heart that they've missed it.
Because there's nothing about a personal, intimate relationship with God. And that can happen to anybody's life. We can, in this day and time with so much turmoil and things going on and things to be concerned about, it's easy to drift. We can't afford to let ourselves drift from the teachings of the Word of God. In other words, don't get up in the morning and cut on the news immediately. Talk to the Lord. In other words, first of all, most of what you hear, you can't tell it's truth or not, number one.
And secondly, it's enough to get you upset all day long. And so, that's not the way we should begin our day. We should begin our day if He says, ordering our prayer to Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, and anticipating what God's going to do in our life in that day. And then, not only that, but meditating upon Him. A man or a woman who has a heart for God is a man or a woman whose priority is their personal relationship to God. A second thing is this, and that is to place their trust in God when facing those difficult times and challenging times of life.
A person who has a heart after God, that's exactly what we're going to do. We're going to place our trust in Him because we are going to face those things. And when I think about David, for example, I think about all of his courage and his military skills and abilities and talents. And as you read, especially First and Second Samuel and the Psalms and how God worked in his life, what's going on? God is building him up and God is teaching him to trust Him very, very early in life.
And whether it was a bear or a lion, didn't make any difference. The issue was that God was working in his life and He was available for God to do whatever He wanted to do in His life. And I think all of us are going to have battles in life over whatever it might be.
It might be relationships or finances or whatever. The issue is this, are you prepared to face those challenging issues of life? And remember this, the man and the woman who has the heart after God will be prepared to face anything the world throws at you. The man or the woman who does not have a heart after God will not be prepared.
And you and I can look around and see what happens to people who depend upon their money or their fame, their fortune, their support or whatever it might be. God wants His children, men and women, to be men and women with a heart after God. That we're living for Him, but not ourselves. So, the first point there is simply that personal relationship with God. And then a faith to trust in God for whatever God may want to do in that person's life. And the third is this, and that is a passion, a strong desire to obey God.
It's all through David's life. This strong desire to obey God. And you hear me say something about obeying God about every week.
Why? Because it's the bottom line. And if a person is going to have a heart after God, you're going to have a strong desire to obey Him. It becomes first and foremost, the bottom line, the final test of everything you and I do. Because He said, if you love Me, you will obey Me. You cannot have a heart after God and not love God. And if you love God, you and I will obey Him. Jesus made that very clear. So, what is He saying? Simply this, that a person who has a heart after God is a man or a woman who has a strong desire to obey God.
Now listen, not just a little desire. You and I live in a world that's going to try us, test us, and tempt us in every way possible to draw us away from God or to cause us to drift. And so, a man or a woman who has a heart after God is, listen, is a man or a woman who has a strong desire to obey Him.
And so, when you look around and you wonder why people are living the way they're living, most of them are not reading God's Word. They know what's on the television. They know all the programs.
They'll have the magazines or whatever it might be. Lots of friends and lots of talking about this subject and that and the other. What about the Word of God? What about Jesus' work in your life?
What's He doing? And the one thing that you and I should be willing and ready to do at all times, as Peter said to us, he says, is to give an account for our hope. We should be able, listen, voluntarily, excitedly, wisely, carefully, listen truthfully, be able to say to someone else, this is what God is doing in my life right now. Maybe I've been anxious about something.
I've been through some difficult times. But let me tell you what God is doing in my life. And the interesting thing here is if you look at the life of David, there was always that desire to be obedient. Now listen to this carefully.
Are you listening? Say amen. I can be obedient to God outwardly without growing in my relationship to Him. If I'm being obedient for the simple reason that I'm scared to death of what He's going to do if I disobey Him. That is, if my obedience is motivated by fear of the consequences, that's not the right motivation. I should obey Him because I love Him, because I care for Him. We should obey Him because listen, we want to be the kind of men and women and young people that God desires for us to be. A man or a woman who has a heart for God is going to have a strong desire to obey God, listen, because of who He is. Not because of what it's going to get me, but I will get something.
But it's not something that I will get. It is something that God will do inside of your life and mine. And so, here's a man, David of course. Was he perfect? No, he was not perfect.
And there was nothing perfect about him. But I think about how many times he was tempted to disobey. Now, for example, on one occasion, in First Samuel, he couldn't, in other words, Saul had been chasing it now for years. And so, he and his men are in this cave.
And Saul comes in the cave for a few moments. And David was so close, he cut off a piece of his garment. And his cohorts said, Kill him.
This is your opportunity to kill him. And he had already been anointed as king by Samuel the prophet, but he hadn't taken that. And so, he had the opportunity to get rid of Saul. It would have been no big deal.
He'd been chasing him all these years. He could have killed him and said, Now look who's king. But he didn't. And then he said to Saul across the valley there, he said, Look, I could have taken your life, but I would not dare. I would not dare harm or dishonor the servant of God. Twice he could have killed him, but he didn't do it.
You know why? Listen carefully. You listen and say, Amen.
This is very important. He had rather be obedient to God than to be king. He said, I'd rather be obedient to God than to be king. What is there in your life that you'd like to have, that you want, have a deep desire for, a strong desire for, but you say, I'd rather be obedient to God than to have this, that or the other. A man or a woman who has a heart for God, no matter what comes their way and what the offer may be, deep down inside there's this awesome passion to obey Him that supersedes every single other desire that we have. Because that's what obedience is all about. And a man or a woman who has a heart after God, that's going to be their testimony.
More committed to being obedient to God than to being a king. So, ask yourself in your life, what is it that you really want, that you're really working after? But maybe in your heart you know it's not the right thing. Can you say, God, I'd rather be obedient to You than to have or to go or whatever?
Because it's more important to me. A man or a woman who has a heart after God, and listen, could you and I want anything less than that? Could we be so dishonoring to God as to desire things at the price of being a genuine servant of the living God?
A man or a woman up to God's own heart, their first priority is that relationship. Their life is wrapped up in the growing in their faith. Listen, having this awesome passion to obey Him and to watch Him work.
And every time you see David in some difficult situation or whatever it might be, what is he doing? He's obeying God. Did he obey God with Bathsheba? No, he did not.
With the murder of her husband? No, he did not. But his life pattern.
And listen, it isn't that Paul is the guy who said he has a man after his own heart. He said God said that David was a man after his own heart, imperfect? Yes. A sinner? Yes.
Making mistakes in life? Yes. Well, listen to this. He said he has a heart after God. Not that his every single action is as God would have had it to be. But he knew where his heart was and that's why he said, search me, O God, and know my heart. See if there's any wicked way in me.
And if it is, clean it up and let me get into a position to be the kind of person you want me to be. So, ask yourself the question, do those three qualities match your life? And then there is a fourth one. And that is, and this is something that I think oftentimes we forget. And that is, a man or a woman has a heart after God, listen, has a spirit of humility about them. There's a passage that I love in Second Samuel. Look in the seventh chapter for a moment. Now, even when he becomes a king, Second Samuel in the seventh chapter. And I remember the first time I ever read this verse that it caught my attention.
It taught me something because he makes a statement. He says in verse eighteen, Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord. And he said, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? What is he saying, Lord? He sat before the Lord.
And I love that phrase because it got my attention. What does it mean to sit before the Lord? To be quiet and to listen and to meditate upon His Word. And that's why, and I've always, wherever I've been, I've always had a prayer room because I figured that was the most important thing.
In my life. And when I read that verse, I just started making that habit. And that is, sometimes I'll kneel, sometimes I'll just sit. And I got it from that verse. He said, He sat before the Lord and thought. And if you keep reading this chapter, He thought about things that had happened in the past.
And now here He is the King. And you know what? He's not taking credit for any of that. And a man or a woman who has a heart after God is going to have a spirit of humility. A sense of unworthiness. Not a sense of unworthiness that, to the point that you don't count and you don't matter and you're a nobody and all that.
That's just the devil's talk. But the fact that you recognize that who you are and what you have and all the things in your life that are good and even the things in your life that have been tough, have been God's expressions of goodness and care for your life. And so, the spirit of humility is always, I think, going to be found in the life of a person who does just that.
Then there's one other. And that is, a man or woman who has a heart after God is going to possess, listen, the spirit of a servant. And you see, all of this works together from a right relationship with Him, to great faith. And now we're coming down to the idea of being a servant of God, to have the spirit of a servant.
And if you'll think about this for a moment, that's what he always had. In his father's household, listen, he was a servant. He tended the sheep. And when he was in Saul's household as a serving Saul, what was he doing? He was serving him as a musician and he served him as a military leader. And then finally, he served all of Israel as a king. And above all, he was a servant of God. Everywhere you see David, you see him serving. Handsome, hero, son-in-law of the king and all the rest, sitting and saying, God, how did I get to this place? And now, the spirit of a servant. Because you see, a person, a man or a woman who has the heart of God and who desires to have the heart of God, that person is going to be a servant. And it's interesting here also how he got catapulted into his fame.
Here's what happened. He's serving his father. His father said, you know, your brothers are out there getting ready to go to war.
Take this cheese and milk and bread and all the rest and take it up there and be sure they have some and pass it around to the commanders and so forth. And so, what he's doing, in those moments when he is serving his father as a delivery boy. That's what he is, he's just a delivery boy. Shepherd delivery boy.
What happens? God uses His servant's spirit to put him at the pivotal point in his life when it all began to change. When I look at that passage and see how God worked in his life in the most awesome way, and how God using him as this errand boy. Listen, if he had not had a servant's spirit and he'd have said, oh, look, let somebody else take that bread up there. You know what?
I got other things I need to do. Whatever his father said is what he did. Because listen, if you have a heart after God, there's nothing that's too little or too big, but people who love God.
People who love God. So, when I look at this and think about what was the acid test of his servanthood. Saul threw the javelin at him twice to kill him. He said to pin him to the wall. And he kept serving him. He chased him for ten years and he kept serving him.
He did not take advantage to make himself king. He kept serving him. But no matter what he did to him, he kept serving him.
And then, of course, the acid test was when he could have taken this life in the cave and he didn't do it. He had the spirit of a servant. So, let me ask you in light of those five qualities. Have I placed my priority on a personal relationship with God? Have I placed my trust in Him when facing the challenges of life? And do I have a strong desire to obey Him? And do I possess a spirit of humility? And do I possess a spirit of a servant?
When I think about this long life of David, up and down and ins and outs, and his son betrayed him and tried to divide Israel over him. You can look at these five qualities and see that in this man, why does he stand out above all the others? And God would say, a man after my own heart. And I would simply ask you today, is there anything in your life that you would consider more important than being a man or a woman who has a heart after God? Thank you for listening to part two of A Heart for God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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