On November 8, 1927, my thirty-eighth birthday, I prayed this prayer: "Lord, make me a man after Thine Own heart." Work faded out of sight; things that before seemed important disappeared; everything in which I was interested took a secondary place, and my own inner life before God was all that mattered, all that was really worthwhile. And as I paced back and forth in my room that day I prayed, and prayed in the Spirit: "Lord, make me a man after Thine Own heart."
I saw as I had never seen before that the big thing was not the work I was doing, the books I was writing, the sermons I was preaching, the crowds that gathered nor the success achieved; but rather the life I was living, the thoughts I was thinking, heart holiness, practical righteousness; in a word: my transformation, by the Holy Spirit, into Christlikeness.
There came to me with new and deeper meaning than ever before the words: "Oh, for a closer walk with God." My heart went out in a cry of anguish for such an experience. "Enoch walked with God" (Gen. 5:24). Could not I? Am not I more precious to God than my work, my possessions? God wanted me, not merely my service.
After that He led me out in prayer, a prayer that would make me a man after His Own heart and these were the petitions: "Lord, here are my hands; I consecrate them to Thee. May they never touch anything that would dishonor Thee. May they never go where Thou wouldst not be seen.
"Lord, here are my eyes; may they never look upon anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit. May my ears never listen to anything dishonoring to Thy Name. May my mouth never be opened to speak a word that I would not want Thee to hear. May my mind never retain a thought nor an imagination that would dim the sense of Thy presence."
Putting God First
God, I saw, demanded my undivided attention. Everything else must take a second place. Friends and loved ones, home, money, work, all even though legitimate must give way to Christ! Day and night my undivided attention must be given to Him. God first! Such must be my attitude toward Him. Only then would He be able to bless and use me.
In my relationship to God I saw that no other and nothing else must come between. That just as a husband comes first in the affections of his wife, and vice versa, so God must come first in my heart. And just as no marriage can ever be a happy marriage where either husband or wife withhold their undivided attention from each other, so my fellowship with God could only be complete when He had my undivided attention.
What He asked of me that day He asks of all alike. Can it be that we would deny Him His right? Is there anything in this world worthy of that attention He claims? Why, then, do we withhold what He asks? Is true joy to be found outside of God? Can we be happy with "things"?
Do "things" satisfy? "A mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15).
God Has Made Us for Himself!
He longs for our fellowship and communion. To walk with Him moment by moment, right here in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, in a world that has no use for a separated, Holy Ghost life, a world whose god is Satan; to live as pilgrims and strangers in a world that crucified our Lord that is His design and purpose for us.
So, then, to be a man after Gods own heart means to put God first; to walk with Him every moment; to do nothing that would displease Him and to allow nothing that would grieve Him; to live a life of practical righteousness and holiness before Him; to give Him our undivided attention, and to love Him supremely!
To get His best we must give our best. To become men and women after His Own heart, we must let Him have our undivided attention. To win, we must surrender. To live we must die. To receive, we must give!
Oh, the joy of such a life! There is nothing like it. All the success in the world cannot compensate for it. Friends can never mean so much. Even loved ones disappoint. Money brings its burdens, and fame its bitterness. But He, He satisfies! God is never a disappointment. To walk with Him is the sweetest thing on earth. To know that all is well, that there is nothing between, that no black cloud of sin hides His face ah! That is heaven, indeed.
Then let us pray it, mean it, and live it: "Lord, make me a man after Thine Own heart."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon