“God understands my heart” is a frequent response of Christians who have done something that would be displeasing to God: gambling so they can tithe; drinking to cope with problem kids; or having sex outside of marriage because they’re lonely. God understands my heart. And, yes, He does. He understands that we do what we don’t want to do (Romans 7:15), that we will fall if we don’t take heed to his word (1 Corinthians 10:12 & Galatians 6:1), that we need the Holy Spirit so we won’t fall prey to our own desires (Galatians 5:16). He understands our heart and does extend grace (Romans 5:20). This grace is for those who struggle with wrong and truly want to do right, and it is even for those who have no qualms about sinning (Matthew 5:45). But be warned: those who don’t fear God will not only cause people to shun Christianity but will also cause God’s wrath to fall upon them who disregard His standards in favor of their own. These are people who willfully sin because “God knows my heart.”
Yes, God knows our hearts and understands whether our actions proceed from a pure one or not: Jeremiah 17:9 says our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, and then asks “Who can know it?” Verse 10 answers that God knows our hearts. Because God knows our hearts, Isaiah 5:20 warns, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” So while God extends grace to 1) those who know to do right and do; 2) those who know to do right and don’t; and 3) those who don’t know to do right and don’t, there will come a time when the grace runs out. “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:9). God’s not just going to keep letting you willfully sin—disrespect Him, not fear Him. He extends grace because He wants to give you time to make a change (2 Peter 3:9).
I know I was heavy-handed on the scriptures this time, but I think a lot of times we make statements like “God understands my heart” and we don’t understand God’s word enough to really have a biblical basis for our comments. Sure, the God we may have created in our minds may understand our hearts the way we want him to, but not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is the God we must understand. This is the God we must follow. This is the God we must fear. All else is man-made conjuring and has no place in true Christianity.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith