My car was rattling and clanging. At first, I didn’t do anything about it. I would drive it to school and ignore the sounds that the engine made. Eventually, the smoke pouring out from under the hood convinced me that it was time to fix the problem.
When I took my car to the mechanic, he took one look and offered me $500 for the car. I told him that I was there to fix it, not to sell it. He giggled a little (irritation was the emotion that I was feeling), and he told me that he would have to replace the engine block to fix the car’s problem. I learned an important lesson about cars that day. You’ve got to tune them up regularly to avoid disaster.
The same is true about our heart as followers of Christ. If we’re going to experience the best in our life, then we must tune up our heart each day. David helps us with some of this heart work as he leads us on a journey through his own experience.
“Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (Psalm 25:12–15, NKJV)
1. Tune our heart to who God is and how He works. A heart out of tune with who God is and who He works will sink into despair or be filled with pride. The psalmist helps us understand the nature of God and how He moves in our lives. And we must tune our heart to His character and His activity.
The psalmist called upon the Lord to remember the tender mercies and steadfast love that is His nature (25:6). He has a deep love for those in whom He has established a relationship. This unbending nature of God moves with power toward those who have embraced Him as their King.
The bottom line for us this morning is that God loves us, and His love brings relief to us, even when we do not deserve it. He works in our lives with the compassion of a father who cares absolutely and perfectly for his children. It is this character of God that compels us to follow His instruction and turn toward Him in repentance when we have sinned against Him. God loves us! As we focus on His love, we beg for Him to consider us, not according to our sin, but according to the love that forged the fellowship between Him and us (25:7).
The psalmist then declared that God is good and upright (25:8). The goodness of God means that He is absolutely free from anything wicked or evil, and His intention for us revolves around His delight in doing what is best on our behalf. In goodness, God is always just, displaying integrity in His dealing with you and me. It’s His nature of goodness that delights in delivering the best on our behalf, and it’s His justice that compels us to follow His ways.
2. Confess and turn from your sin. A prominent feature in the work that has to take place in our heart is confession and repentance. Because we are sinners, we must regularly and radically deal with our sin. The psalmist acknowledges his sin, both from the past and in the present (25:7). He asks the Father to pardon his great sin (25:11).
We should tune our heart to who God is and how He works. Because He is good and upright, we see our sin in the light of His goodness and righteousness. Because He is faithful in His love and delights in the best for us, we can confidently count upon His forgiveness and the restoration of fellowship with Him.
The solution for our heart cluttered by sin is God’s gracious favor and goodness in our lives. God longs to create in us a heart that is clean. A heart that is a reflection of His goodness and love. When we are aware of who God is, His love and His holiness, then we will experience the pangs of our sin in the deepest part of our soul. We will come to know the misery of sin, which will draw us to confess and to repent. We will long for His forgiveness to cover us and deliver the solid life that satisfies (25:18).
We must confess our sin and turn from it. Through confession, our heart tunes to the way of God. Through repentance, our heart finds cleansing from the stain of sin. God works through the power of His Spirit to open our eyes to His ways and how we have walked in disobedience and rebellion. And it is through the power of His Spirit that we find the courage to turn from our sin and embrace once again the path that God has called us to walk in concert with His character and sovereign desire.
3. Tune your heart to what God wants continually. A heart out of tune with what God wants is destined to repeat the cycle of sin and shame that His grace and favor have resolved. But, because God is good and just, He teaches sinners the way to live in concert with His desire (25:8b). The more in tune our heart is to God’s nature, the more we will learn the pathways that He calls us to follow.
When we humble ourselves before God each morning, He will open our eyes and heart to the steps that He has mapped for us (25:9). These pathways are saturated with the loving protection and compassionate care of the Father, and they are always reliable and trustworthy (25:10).
The essence of tuning our heart to what God wants is bound up in the phrase, “fear the Lord.” The fear of the Lord is the absolute respect and awe for God flowing from a relationship with God and resulting in obedience to God. When we live in the fear of the Lord, then we will experience a life that is filled with blessing (Psalm 128:1). The psalmist points out the nature of our obedience that leads to blessing: the one who “fears the Lord.” It’s who we are, not merely the things that we do. In our heart, we fear the Lord.
A person who fears the Lord listens to One voice. That is the voice of God, directing our steps and leading us through life for His honor and glory. It is through God’s grace and for His glory that you and I become those who fear Him. It is not the work that we do that makes us fear the Lord. It is His mighty work of grace in our hearts when we surrender ourselves to Him through faith in Jesus Christ (Jer 32:38-40).
Our heart is fixed on God’s command. When one “fears the Lord,” he becomes consumed with the desire to please the Father by obeying His commands. Our heart’s affection is upon our Lord, and our desire is to follow His commands. Our heart has been changed by Christ’s salvation to cling to what God wants as the very breath of life. We find joy of God’s blessings when we open our heart to His commands. His desire is our desire. His calling is our vocation. His command is our obedience.
The fear of the Lord produces the best in life. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. When we fear the Lord, we find the fullness of life in every part of our day. We will live in concert with God’s purpose and perfect plan. Our lives will be tuned to His desire and we will taste the abundance of life that He produces. Today, let’s fear the Lord.