Recently, I have been praying more consistently for young people as they enter the dangerous and often frightening journey of reflecting into one’s own heart. I too have been delving deep into my heart this last year trying to bring the light of Scripture to bear on my thoughts, motives, and desires. In some way I understand Gandalf’s hesitancy to go through the dark mines as Saruman puts it, “You know what the dwarves uncovered in the darkness.” I know that if I search my heart long and hard enough, I will come face to face with the Balrog of my desires that I would rather keep hidden.
I would like to add a few encouragements as well as cautions regarding heart searching.
First, it is a frightening and humbling experience, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Prov 18:12 The further I delve into my heart, the more frightening the creatures and desires become.
Second, it is an honorable pursuit. The fact that we feel unprepared is ironically the first step in preparation. This first step is needed before I will realize that I am in grave danger and in need of help.
Third, it is a treacherous route. Satan has two strategies, either he will keep us from ever looking inward and questioning heart motives, or he will continue to allow evil to be revealed in such massive quantities that we will become overwhelmed and allow ourselves to give up the fight. In both scenarios evil reigns. See Luke 18:10 for a visual representation of the too good or too bad principle and how to overcome it.
Fourth, we need proper light. Nowhere in Scripture am I told to search my heart alone (Jer 17:9). The only way we will safely navigate through the heart and keep from being swallowed up in darkness is by continuing in the Light. God’s Word illuminates the path we should go. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psa 119:105). Not only has God given us the surety of Scripture, He has given Himself. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” ( Psa 23:4) God never brings us to a valley, He is not willing to journey through with us. In fact, many times He takes his children through the valley so we will learn to trust Him alone. Do not waste your valley times, earnestly, intently look for Him.
Fifth, it is a lonely route. Many people will disagree or even try to make us fail or second guess ourselves (James 1:8). The only way we can be certain and therefore have boldness is to get so close to God through His Word, that we begin to hear the heartbeat of God. Soon His desires become one as our heart beats in time with His, and nothing shall move us.
Finally, it is the only route. God does not take his children through flowery beds of ease, because He wants to show us how great He is, by showing us how frail we are.