"I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart."
Have you ever done the right thing, but your heart wasn't in it? I know I have. I know I'm not alone in that. Psalm 40:6-8 expresses that very sentiment. I love the Psalms because of their honesty and how they express all aspects of our human experience, including the times when we do the right thing, just like we know we should, but our heart wasn't in it.
God's law commands (rather intricately and descriptively!) what sacrifices and offerings the people are supposed to offer. Yet Psalm 40 says, "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire."
We can follow the law to the letter, but God is interested in our hearts. That doesn't negate the importance of the law either, but it does put it in proper place. Verse 8 says, "I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart." God wants us to do his will not out of compulsion or obligation, but because we desire his will more than our own. God wants us to know the law and follow it, but most of all the Lord calls us to have the law in our hearts.
When I think of sacrifice and read Psalm 40 as a whole, I am convicted that God calls us to sacrifice our will for his will. The Law of the Lord and the Will of God are more than just following rules: in them we find a call to sacrifice our priorities and desires to put God's call first. So the prayer of our hearts is no longer, "God help me to not break the rules," but instead, "God give me a sacrificial heart that wants to do the right thing." The heart comes first.
- Pastor Steven
Sacrifice isn't just an outward act; it's about the heart. Take a moment today to check your heart. Choose to sacrifice something, like lunch break or music in the car today, to spend time in prayer.
God, you know our hearts. Search us, and show us the ways that our hearts are not in line with yours. Mold us and shape us as we align our will with yours. Amen.
In your journal or a blank sheet of paper, draw or write your thoughts.