Do you know it is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart? If you are hungering for Jesus, you may already be trying—desiring earnestly—to obey this command of the Lord.
I want to encourage you: it is possible or God would not have given us such a call. Having a perfect heart has been part of the life of faith from the time God first spoke to Abraham: “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1).
In the Old Testament we see that some succeeded. David for instance, determined in his heart to obey God’s command to be perfect. He said, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (Psalm 101:2).
To come to grips with the idea of perfection, we first must understand that perfection does not mean a sinless, flawless existence. No, perfection in the Lord’s eyes means something entirely different. It means completeness, maturity.
The Hebrew and Greek meanings of perfection include “uprightness, having neither spot nor blemish, being totally obedient.” It means to finish what has been started, to make a complete performance. John Wesley called this concept of perfection “constant obedience.” That is, a perfect heart is a responsive heart, one that answers quickly and totally all the Lord’s wooing, whisperings and warnings. Such a heart says at all times, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. Show me the path, and I will walk in it.”
The perfect heart cries out with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:23–24).
God does indeed search our hearts; he said as much to Jeremiah: “I the Lord search the heart” (Jeremiah 17:10). The Hebrew meaning for this phrase is, “I penetrate, I examine deeply.”
The perfect heart wants the Holy Spirit to come and search out the innermost man, to shine into all hidden parts—to investigate, expose and dig out all that is unlike Christ. Those who hide a secret sin, however, do not want to be convicted, searched or probed.
The perfect heart yearns for more than security or a covering for sin. It seeks to be in God’s presence always, to dwell in communion. Communion means talking with the Lord, sharing sweet fellowship with him, seeking his face and knowing his presence.
The Lord’s heart-searching is not vindictive, but redemptive. His purpose is not to catch us in sin or condemn us, but rather to prepare us to come into his holy presence as clean pure vessels.