By Francis Frangipane
are so many things to occupy our minds: so many books, so many
examples, so many good teachings that deserve our attention, that say,
"Here is a truth." But as I have been serving the Lord these past years,
He has led me to seek for two things and two things only: to know the
heart of God in Christ and to know my own heart in Christ's light.
Knowing the Heart of God
have been seeking God, searching to know Him and the depth of His love
toward His people. I want to know Christ's heart and the compassions
that motivate Him. The Scriptures are plain: Jesus loved people. Mark's
gospel tells us that after Jesus taught and healed the multitudes, they
became hungry. In His compassion, Christ saw them as "sheep without a
shepherd" (Mark 6:34). It was not enough for Him to heal and teach them;
He personally cared for each of them. Their physical well-being, even
concerning food, was important to Him.
lad with five loaves and two fish provided enough for Jesus to work
another miracle, but this miracle had to come through Christ's willing
but bone-weary body. Consider: Christ brought His disciples out to rest,
"for there were many people coming and going, and they did not even
have time to eat" (Mark 6:31).
personally had come to pray and be strengthened, for John the Baptist,
Jesus' forerunner, had been beheaded earlier that very week at the hands
of Herod. It was in the state of being emotionally and physically
depleted that Jesus fed the multitudes---not just once or twice but over
and over again: "He kept giving [the bread and the fish] to the
disciples to set before them" (v. 41).
of men, women and children all "ate and were satisfied" (v. 42). Oh,
the heart of Jesus! The miracle was for them, but we read of no miracle
sustaining Him except the marvelous wonder of a holy love that
continually lifted His tired hands with more bread and more fish. Out of
increasing weakness He repeatedly gave that others might be renewed.
if my quest is to know Him, I must recognize this about Him: Jesus
loves people---all people, especially those society ignores. Therefore I
must know exactly how far He would travel for men, for that is the same
distance He would journey again through me. Indeed, I must know His
thoughts concerning illness, poverty and human suffering. As His
servant, I am useless to Him unless I know these things. If I would
actually do His will, I must truly know His heart. Therefore, in all my
study and times of prayer I am seeking more than just knowledge; I am
searching for the heart of God.
Knowing Our Hearts
the same time, as I draw closer to the heart of God, the very fire of
His presence begins a deep purging work within me. In the vastness of
His riches, my poverty appears. The psalmist wrote, "Who may ascend into
the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has
clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to
falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully" (Ps. 24:3-4).
cannot even find the hill of the Lord, much less ascend it, if there is
deceit in our heart. How does one serve in God's holy place if his soul
is unclean? It is only the pure in heart who perceive God. To
ascend toward God is to walk into a furnace of truth where falsehood is
extracted from our souls. To abide in the holy place we must dwell in
honesty, even when a lie might seem to save us. Each ascending step upon
the hill of God is a thrusting of our souls into greater transparency, a
more perfect view into the motives of our hearts.
is this upward call of God that we pursue. Yet the soul within us is
hidden, crouching in fear and darkness, living in a world of untruths
and illusions. This is our inner man, the soul God seeks to save. Have
you discovered your true self, the inner person whom truth alone can
free? Yes, we seek holiness, but true holiness arises from here; it
comes as the Spirit of Truth unveils the hidden places in our hearts.
Indeed, it is truthfulness which leads to holiness.
God, grant us a zeal for truth that we may stand in Your holy place!
everywhere presume they know the "truth," but they have neither
holiness nor power in their lives. Truth must become more than
historical doctrine; it must be more than a museum of religious
artifacts---mementos from when God once moved. Truth is knowing God's heart as it was revealed in Christ, and it is knowing our own hearts in the light of God's grace.
members of the human race, we are shrouded in ignorance. Barely do we
know our world around us; even less do we know the nature of our own
souls. Without realizing it, as we search for God's heart, we are also
searching for our own. For it is only in finding Him that we discover
ourselves, for we are "in Him."
Yet throughout that
searching process, as I position my heart before the Lord, it is with a
sense of trembling that I pray the prayer of King David: "Search me, O
God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if
there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way"(Ps.
Let us wash the cosmetics from our souls
and look at the unadorned condition of our hearts. I know God has
created us eternally complete and perfect in Christ. I believe that. But
in the first three chapters of John's Revelation, Jesus did not tell
the churches they were "perfect in His eyes." No! He revealed to them
their true conditions; He told them their sins. Without compromise, He
placed on them the demand to be overcomers, each in their own unique and
Like them, we must know our
need. And like them, the souls we want saved dwell here, in a world
system structured by lies, illusions and rampant corruption. Our old
natures are like well-worn shoes into which we relax; we can be in the
flesh instantly without even realizing it. The enemies that defeat us
are hidden and latent within us! Thus the Holy Spirit must expose our foes before we can conquer them!
man's nature, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, "The heart is more deceitful
than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer.
17:9). Quoting another of David's prayers, a similar cry is heard: "Who
can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your
servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will
be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression" (Ps.
There may be errors inside of us that are
actually ruling us without our awareness. Do we realize, for instance,
how many of our actions are manipulated purely by vanity and the desire
to be seen or accepted by others? Are we aware of the fears and
apprehensions that unconsciously influence so many of our decisions? We
may have serious flaws inside yet still be either too proud or too
insecure to admit we need help.
Concerning ourselves, we think so highly of what we know so little!
outwardly, though we know our camera pose, do we know how we appear
when we are laughing or crying, eating or sleeping, talking or angry?
The fact is, most of us are ignorant of how we appear outwardly to
others; much less do we know ourselves inwardly before God! Our fallen
thinking processes automatically justify our actions and rationalize our
thoughts. Without the Holy Spirit, we are nearly defenseless against
our own innate tendencies toward self-deception.
if we would be holy, we must first renounce falsehood. In the light of
God' grace, having been justified by faith and washed in the sacrificial
blood of Jesus, we need not pretend to be righteous. We need only to become truthful.
condemnation awaits our honesty of heart---no punishment. We have only
to repent and confess our sins to have them forgiven and cleansed; if we
will love the truth, we will be delivered from sin and self-deception.
Indeed, we need to know two things and two things only: the heart of God
in Christ and our own hearts in Christ's light.
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.