He Searches Hearts
And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul had explained that the Holy Spirit prays for us, even when we don’t know what to pray. Now he amplifies the encouragement by telling us that the Spirit’s prayers are directed by the Father’s complete knowledge of every detail of our lives, even into the crevasses of our hearts.
The Father knows everything. He understands us better than we understand ourselves! Because the Father also is one with the Holy Spirit, they are in constant and complete agreement as the Spirit prays for us. The Spirit’s prayers are always in perfect alignment with the will of the Father.
Some of us think we have a good grasp of God’s will for our lives- and we sometimes think we know God’s will for other people too! Certainly many aspects of God’s divine direction are clearly spelled out in the Bible. But more often than we care to admit, our desires for an easy life overshadow God’s desire for us to live an abundant life. We want fun, excitement, happiness, and wealth- and God often gives us those things- but far more, God’s will is for us to learn to trust Him, lean on Him when times are tough, and to gain wisdom by going through confusing or difficult times. In these cases, God’s will isn’t to get us out of trouble, but to take us through it so we learn valuable lessons.
When the Spirit prays to the Father for us, His requests focus on these deeper, richer lessons of life. We are wise to learn to pray along with the Spirit’s purposes for us.
God always answers our prayers according to our good and His glory.
Any of us could make perfect decisions if we but just had perfect and complete information. But life isn’t that way. Most of the time we only have bits of information and most of the tough decisions have a 50-50 balance. Sometimes we make the right one and sometimes the wrong one especially when we only rely on our judgement.
There are times, however, when-if we’re honest- that we have no clue what to do. Our thoughts race through our minds, leaning one direction one minute and the other another. Many of us spend hours wrestling with a situation only to discover at the end of the day we’re no closer to the solution than we were at the beginning.
I have no doubt that most Christians want God’s will for their lives and their families. The only issue is that they have no clue what that is. They may seek counsel but often everyone from whom they seek advice gives different advice and they end up more confused than ever. We can find ourselves searching scripture but many times we are in truth looking for supporting verses that agree with what we think is God’s will. The fact is we can’t fully trust ourselves to make the best, God-willed decisions. As a matter of fact the Bible says that our hearts are deceitful.
“The heart is deceitful above all thingsAnd it is extremely sick;Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?
In our world today we have been told to follow our hearts but according to this scripture, that may not be a good idea. Since God knew us and since He knows that even our hearts have been corrupted by sin, He gave us the Holy Spirit to search out the deceptions and bring truth and reveal the actual will of God.
Sadly many people talk about the will of God in negative terms. It usually sounds like God drug them reluctantly to do or become what they are as though He is some despot forcing His will on weak, defenseless pawns. But if that’s our perception of the will of God for us, we truly don’t know Him. How can we forget that before God created humans, He created a beautiful paradise for them. Now that doesn’t sound like someone who just uses or forces people to comply with His demands. After they sinned, it was God who sought them out and who covered their sins with the skin of an innocent animal. In that moment, He gave the promise of a Redeemer who would give His life ransom for humanity. When God makes His will known, it is always with our best in mind and whenever He redirects our paths, it’s because we are heading toward harm or less than the best.
The question of seeking God’s will rather than our own hinges on trust. In our world of broken trust, deceptions, and users and abusers, we question whether we can truly trust God. Does He really love us and does He really want the very best for us? The answer to that is given by the evidence of the cross. Who could imagine that God who gave up His Son for us would ever want anything less for us than the best?
Paul give us great hope that we can find and walk in the perfect will of God. He tells us that if we have the Holy Spirit, He will search our hearts, He will pray for us, always in the will of God. Then He says that if we will follow, the Holy Spirit will lead us in every step, every decision and every action. And this is, according to Paul what it means to be a child of God.
“So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but not to our flesh [our human nature, our worldliness, our sinful capacity], to live according to the [impulses of the] flesh [our nature without the Holy Spirit]— for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever. For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.”
Dr. John Thompson