“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (Acts 13:22b).
David was certainly not perfect. He committed sins that most of us could not imagine, much less commit. Yet, in spite of his imperfections and sin, David sought to be righteous and his heart’s desire was to do the will of God. In fact, in Paul’s sermon recorded in Acts 13, he said concerning David, “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God…” (Acts 13:36). This is the kind of person God looks for. Regardless of the wrong David had done in his life, God, Who looks upon the heart, could still say that that David was “a man after mine own heart.”
Is it your heart’s desire to obey God and to do His will? This was true for David, and it’s also true for anyone who desires to please the Lord. It is crucial that we know God’s will as revealed in His Word and that we obey it. This is precisely where King Saul failed, which is why Samuel said what he did: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22).
If you’ve ever seen the film, Chariots of Fire, you know it’s about Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who ran for the glory of God in the 1924 Olympics. Liddell said, “Obedience to God’s will is the secret of spiritual knowledge and insight. It is not willingness to know, but willingness to do God’s will that brings certainty.” We are commanded to be “doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6b).
When you read in the Scriptures about the saints of old and the biographies of people who were greatly used of God, it becomes obvious that men and women whose hearts had a desire for God were also people of prayer. If we want to please the Lord and be used by Him to affect the lives of others for good, prayer is needed. And the side effect is wonderful — you’ll begin reaping the blessings of answered prayer. We are commanded, “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) and, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
Maybe you’re already enjoying a meaningful prayer life. But if you are like most of us, there’s probably room for improvement — maybe even lots of room! Our biggest problem is that often we let the tyranny of the urgent crowd out the important, including things like prayer. J. Oswald Sanders said: “Mastering the art of prayer, like any other art, will take time; and the amount of time we allocate to it will be the true measure of our conception of its importance.”
In his excellent book, Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders wrote:
“In the Scriptures, God is frequently represented as searching for a man of a certain type. Not men, but a man. Not a group, but an individual. When God does discover a man who conforms to His spiritual requirement, who is willing to pay the full price of discipleship, He uses him to the limit, despite his patent shortcomings.”
What is your heart’s desire? Is it to please God and to be used by Him? We read in the Bible that David had a heart that sought after God, and his desire was to do God’s will. He was a man of prayer, praise, and worship as is evidenced by many of the Psalms. And he earned the title of “a man after God’s own heart.” Won’t you take a moment to pray that yours is such a heart?