Pursuing to Become a Man after God’s Own Heart

《麦子》87期 / 文:JS Pau

Why God’s Heart?

Have you ever prayed for yourself to be a man or woman after God’s own heart? Many of us may think that that is an honorable title which is too great for ‘me’. I believe we do ever pray to become a better person according to God’s standard. Before we dive in to the main contents of this article, we address the first question, why “God’s heart”? God is the Almighty one and the Creator of heaven and earth.  Humans are God’s creation and the existence of mankind is impossible without the Creator. God’s revelation in the Bible tells us about the origin of humans, who our Creator and Savior is. Regardless whether we choose to deny the truth, truth lasts forever without interference of any created beings. God is our Creator and our Savior. Therefore, seeking and living according to God’s own heart is one of the purposes that every Christian should live for. 

There is one recognizable character in the Old Testament – King David who was called a man after God’s own heart. King David was chosen by God and our Lord Jesus Christ was a descendant of King David. King David was not only a King of Israel during his reign, he was also a musician, a poet and a warrior. Let us explore why King David is called a man after God’s own heart from two of David’s attributes. And we too can pursue to become a man after God’s own heart.

David’s Faith in God

David’s faith in God has been manifested since he was a young shepherd boy. As a young boy, David has been in charge of shepherding his father’s sheep. David has had multiple experiences protecting the flock from lions and bears, and he even killed the wild animals! David had faith in God when he fought the animals and once he defeated the lion and the bear, he acknowledged that it was the Lord who has rescued him. David’s experiences from his youth laid a foundation for him to have great faith in God when he fought Goliath. David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sam 17: 37) when he was ready to fight Goliath. 

Brothers and sisters, we often see David’s great faith in the event of his victory over Goliath.  However, his great faith is actually build upon his day-to-day’s practice of trusting God – he was a shepherd who fought lions and bears when he was shepherding the flocks. David’s faithfulness in trusting God has become our role model as we walk on the journey of life. In modern days, we do not have to fight actual lions and bears but there are a lot of challenges in lives that we have to fight – to take short cut and earn untruthful wealth, follow our lust to do things unfavourable to God, to choose to serve our own flesh instead of serving God, or simply to sleep late and miss Sunday worship. The list goes on. 

The fallen world is full of temptations that distract us from accomplishing God’s plan in our lives. For instance, parents worry about their children’s future and especially their academic performance more than their children’s relationship with God. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram is more interesting and easier to accomplish than scrolling through scrolls of biblical scriptures. When we put our faith in God, we could see God’s plan for us beyond the giant (enemy) in front of us. If you know that you are called to do a little bit more for God – be it serving in any ministry or to send your children to serve in the church, but you are struggling to trust God and invest your resources, let us imitate King David to practise our faith in God on daily basis. For example, you can schedule a public holiday to attend church program with your family instead of wasting away the holiday by lounging on the couch and feed your mind with contents from social media. You can also listen to spiritual content for 10 minutes every day instead of listening to any YouTube video that was recommended to you but does not contain any spiritual nourishment. In fact, it is David’s daily trust in God that got him ready for such a big battle.  A small step each day leads to a big leap. If we have faith in God in small matters – one at a time, our faith grows stronger and deeper in God. When a big battle arrives, we are ready to win the battle for Christ!

David Honours God’s Sovereignty

After David had killed the Philistine, the women from all the towns of Israel danced and sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (1 Sam 18: 7) This displeased King Saul and made him very angry. From then onwards, Saul had intention to kill David. Saul arranged for David to be in battles with Philistines in hope that David will be killed by the Philistines. However, David had killed the Philistines and even two hundreds of them (1 Sam 18:27). The Lord was with David and David had more successes in battles with the Philistines than the rest of Saul’s officers. Saul was afraid of David and he tried to kill David (1 Sam 19: 1). The Lord God had been with David and David constantly sought God’s will.  David was safe.  Despite Saul’s plot to kill David, David called Saul his master as David honoured Saul as the Lord’s anointed (1 Sam 24: 6). David spared Saul’s life twice – once in a cave near the Crags of the Wild Goats (1 Sam 24: 2-3) and once in Saul’s camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon (1 Sam 26: 3).

I believe at some time in our lives, there are people who have sinned against us. We may have resentment and bitterness because of people and the circumstances in our lives. Some people choose to blame their origin, their parents, their spouse or even their children for their life circumstances. We cannot choose our parents but we can choose what kind of children we want to become. We cannot choose our children’s intrinsic characteristics but we can choose what kind of parents we want to become. 

If we study David’s life, we see that God was with him, he was anointed as King Saul’s successor and he had many successes in wars. On one hand, David was really successful but on the other hand, he caused jealousy and displease in Saul, his master. David had been serving King Saul as a shepherd boy who played lyre. Later, David served Saul as armour bearer (1 Sam 16: 21).  We could imagine how David has served faithfully as a servant during King Saul’s reign.  Because of David’s reverence for the Lord, he honours God’s sovereignty and His plan.  Even though David had two opportunities to kill Saul but he honoured God by choosing to spare Saul’s life – a person who wanted to take his life. Let us learn from David’s exemplary life by not taking revenge on our enemy but let God be the ultimate judge.  David said, “May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.  As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.” (1 Sam 24: 12-13)

We can choose to become a person after God’s own heart in our everyday life by honouring God’s sovereignty and forgiving people who have sinned against us. For instance, instead of holding grudges on people who has said something negative to us, we can consider the person as lacking of communication skills. We see it as a training for us to be more mature in interpersonal relationship. It is so much easier to take negative words with an open heart when we change our thinking. As we forgive others and let go of bitterness, we continue to accomplish God’s plan for us. 

God is with Us, We can Do It!

In conclusion, ‘A man after God’s own heart’ should not become an intimidating title that we feel unable to pursue. David’s faith in God has been recorded in the Bible to set an example for Christians of all generations to learn from. The process of becoming a person after God’s own heart is like an athlete’s training for the Olympic Games. We have to practice our faith in God and honour God’s sovereignty on a daily basis. Due to mankind’s sinful nature, everyone is imperfect. It may be difficult to forgive others and let go of our bitterness immediately. Temptations and enemies that distract us from following God can be in anywhere around us. But fear not, God is with us. We shall choose to trust God and pursue to become a man after God’s own heart.