Hearts in Tune

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9,10).

OUR GOAL IS TO ALLOW GOD’S DESIRES TO BECOME OUR OWN. We want to “approve the things that are excellent,” allowing God’s truth to fill our minds, yielding our will to His purposes, and rejoicing in the sheer goodness of all things that are good. There is within each of us, perhaps buried under layers of lesser concerns, a longing for hearts that are in tune with God’s heart, hearts that want nothing but what He wants. Coming to have such a heart (and helping others to do so) is what spiritual growth is about. This is why we study and meditate upon God.

It is impossible to grow in likeness to God’s character without learning to love Him, and it is impossible to love God without learning to love what He loves. Thus one of the wisest things we can do is to make a commitment to love only the things that are highest and best, as judged by God’s criteria. Frances de Sales wrote, “Love is the strongest passion of the soul. We become like what we love. Guard against loving wrongly.”

Thomas Kempis put it in the form of a prayer: “O Lord, let me know what is worth knowing, love what is worth loving, praise what pleases you, honor what is worthy in your sight, and avoid all that is evil.” In our present state of mind, putting ourselves in God’s hands is not always easy. It’s a test not only of our trust but also of our courage. Our desires are so often going in the opposite direction, to let God define what is desirable can seem almost insane. From our vantage point in the here and now, the life of radical faith may seem to involve more sacrifice than serenity. But in the end, the hearts that will have found peace will be those that have come to rest in the purposes of God. On this side of the Cross, there can surely be no doubt as to the benevolence of those purposes. Whatever He desires, it is our privilege to desire the very same things, just because He desires them.

“Lord Jesus, help me to want what is most pleasant to you. You know what is best for me. Give what you will, when the right time comes, and in the quantity you prefer. Do with me as you please. Put me where you will. I am in your hands. I am your servant. I am ready to do whatever you command. You are the true peace of my heart and the perfect rest of my soul” (Catherine Parr).