When studying the kings of Israel, we move from Saul to David. Saul was a man who looked every bit the king on the outside. He was tall and handsome. He was a leading man from central casting. David, on the other hand, probably looked more like an every-man character actor. The biggest difference in the two, however, was not their external appearance. It was their hearts. Saul struggled throughout his entire reign to honor God. He would often do what he thought was right at the expense of what was right. It finally reached a point where the Lord “regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:35, ESV). David was not Saul. He didn’t look the part. But, he was the man God chose to reign because he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
What does it mean to be a person after God’s heart? It can’t mean perfection, because we know that David was far from perfect. But, while David was flawed in a number of ways, his heart sought God’s heart. We see this heart in the psalms where he pours out his prayers of repentance (Psalm 32; 51). So again, the question remains. What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? At its most basic, to be a person after God’s heart is to want the things God wants. It is to have our desires match His desires, our actions fall in line with His commands, our hearts to reflect His heart.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He tells them to pray that God’s will “be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, CSB). If we understand prayer to be as much if not more as God shaping our will and desires to Him as anything else, we see then that Jesus is calling us to center our attention on God’s will unfolding here in this sin-broken world as it does in heaven. Jesus modeled this for us in the garden the night before His death when He prayed, “not my will, but yours” (Luke 22:42).
As believers, we should want what God wants. Our priorities should grow and evolve into His priorities. Our choices should reflect and honor His purposes. We want to be singularly focused on Him and His ways. We’re not pushed and pulled by the winds of doubt and the waves of immaturity (Ephesians 4:14; James 1:6-8).
How would our lives be different if we were truly people after God’s own heart? What would our homes look like? Our workplaces? Our neighborhoods? Our churches? How would realigned priorities impact our use of time and resources? Perhaps now, in the midst of this time when quiet and stillness has been forced upon us, we can take advantage of the opportunity to grow and ask the Lord to help our hearts seek His…to truly adjust and realign our lives. May now, in a season when everything is called into question, may we clearly see and live for that which really matters.