Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV, 1984)

David’s words in this Psalm are among the most beloved in all of Scripture for they repeatedly point to God’s watchful eye and loving care for each of us. From before the moment, we take our first breath, God is there to both protect and to guide us in our knowledge of Him. By the end of the Psalm, we understand that it is God who has provided every day of our life, and it is He alone who knows when our last day will arrive.

It is in the last two verses, however, that we see David redirecting his focus from that of praise for the knowledge and protection of God that is established in the very first verse, to one that is deeply introspective and desperately personal. It’s as if David suddenly comes to understand that God is more than able to care for all the physical details of his life, but there is the issue of the hidden “blind spots” of his heart which provide the motivations for his actions that can so easily lead to his undoing. 

If we live long enough, we begin to understand our own weaknesses. I have the privilege of daily encountering men and women who have come to the end of themselves because those weaknesses have taken control of their lives. At Adult & Teen Challenge, their days are spent in passionate pursuit of a relationship with the Holy Spirit. This pursuit allows them to regain control of their hearts and direction for their lives so that they might truly enjoy the blessings of God. They, just like David, are in the process of allowing God to point out those “anxious thoughts” and “offensive ways” so that the latter days of their lives might be more fruitful than all of those which have gone before.

When Jesus begins to “search,” “test,” and “know” our hearts and thoughts, the process can be extremely painful. But only through this crucible of faith, can we fully come to see ourselves as He sees us and totally embrace what it means to call Him Lord!