January 11

Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.
PSALM 17:3

God’s Spirit is interested in probing our heart. He knows the heart is the source of our speech and conduct. If our heart goes unexamined, we drift into a sick state of denial. We lose touch with reality and relegate others into our wrong thinking.
A healthy heart keeps us honest and engaged. It’s the tender touch of Jesus that reminds us to look inward. Our heart can be a hindrance or a help to wise living. So how do we exercise the Spirit’s probe?
A heart probe by God doesn’t happen accidentally, but intentionally. Just as we daily determine to take care of the physical dimension of our heart, so also we’re instructed to exercise our spiritual condition. We cannot spend all our time doing the work of God while ignoring the voice of God. Good works from an unguarded heart give only an illusion of selfless service. Our works cannot resolve a conflicted heart. Under the Holy Spirit’s probe we see our true selves. In these moments of discovery we invite God’s grace to strengthen our conflicted hearts.

“It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace” (Hebrews 13:9).

Our words, or the lack thereof, are evidence of what dwells in our heart. Sometimes the Holy Spirit checks our heart and moves us to silence. Trust transcends whatever trouble we face, and we exhibit long-suffering with the Lord and His people. This is a heart of faith. At other times the Spirit prompts us to speak up. We may be unclear of the outcome, but He gives us the courage to converse. This is a heart of boldness. Whether in silence or in speech, we submit to the Holy Spirit to govern our heart.
Your heart probe can come in a variety of ways. It may be a prescription of perpetual prayer that penetrates your heart with grace and forgiveness. It may be the treadmill of trust that builds endurance and creates within you a stronger heart of faith. Sometimes our Savior’s stethoscope of conviction discovers sin that needs confession and repentance. A Spirit-probed heart produces right speech, spoken the right way. Intimacy with the Almighty hinges on a healthy heart.

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10).
What heart motives is the Spirit probing in me? How can I be strengthened by God’s grace?

Related Readings
2 Chronicles 6:30; Proverbs 22:11; Jeremiah 20:12; Revelation 2:23

Boyd Bailey, Two Minutes in the BibleTM through Psalms: A 90-Day Devotional (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2016).

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.