Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

God sees our hearts.  I have heard that phrase uttered to discount deliberate deviation from God’s Word.  But most often it is used as an excuse to not try to do His will.

Some people cannot walk into a house without straightening a picture they see crooked on the wall.  The homeowner doesn’t shrug and say it was the thought that counted or mutter that he had a level but was too lazy to use it.  God sees in what ways our lives are crooked and doesn’t accept our fumbled excuses.  Rather, He tells us to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” Matthew 5:48.

But there’s grace, we cry out!  Sure there is, but we cannot be like the Roman Christians who thought they could keep on sinning so that grace might increase (Romans 6:1).  His grace, freely given and possible through the death of God’s Son on the cross, cannot be our excuse to sin.

True worshipers, Jesus tells us, worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  This means that our Christianity cannot just become a checklist and be pleasing to God.  Neither, though, can it be just whatever feels good and right.  Emotion and experience, in our assemblies or our personal lives, do more to please ourselves than they do God.

In my toolbox I have a plumb line that my dad gave me when I left home.  In a world of transits and laser levels, we’ve forgotten how our grandfathers used to build things square.  God had the prophet Amos tell His people of the Old Testament before the Assyrians swept through that He was going to set a plumb line among them and spare them no longer.  They had the Law to tell them how to live to please Him.  “God sees our hearts” was not good enough.

And so we have the plumb line of the Word of God that judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  We may deceive ourselves with our motives and excuses, but nothing is hidden from God.  To Him, our heart is laid bare.  He knows if we are true worshipers, worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.

We must correct our lives in accordance with the plumb line of His Word because it is true, what we say—God sees our hearts.

[This article will also appear in the next issue of Christ For Today, David Tarbet editor.]