“But the high places were not removed; nevertheless, Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.”
I Kings 15:14
It doesn’t mean sinless perfection; but it does mean singular sincerity of desire.
“The perfect heart.”
If today’s Manna were the only one we had about Asa, we’d assume he always followed the Lord with all his heart; however, even a casual reading of II Chron. 16:1-12 will reveal such was not the case, even as indicated by the words “But the high places were not removed” in our Manna.
A “perfect heart” in the sense of one totally sold out to God would have removed the idolatrous high places reserved for sacrifice to the pagan god, Molech. Likewise, a wholly-consecrated heart wouldn’t have “sought the Lord” for 35 years (II Chron. 14:1-15:19) and then turned to the king of Syria and his physicians in his hour of need (16:1-12).
Like Noah, “a just man and perfect in his generation and one who walked with God” (Gen. 6:9)—but later got drunk, exposed himself and cursed his own grandson (Gen. 9:20-27)—Asa was just like us. Or, like Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (other than Jesus)—yet, ended up being quite immoral and idolatrous at the end of his life (I Kings 11:4)—so do we wobble in our walk of faith from time-to-time.
That’s why we must daily run to Christ and fall on His Grace if we are to have any hope. Our hearts are “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9a); no amount of New Year’s resolutions or fleshly remorse can “cleanse our conscience from dead works” (Heb. 9:14) or “create within us a clean heart” (Ps. 51:17).
Only God can do that.
So, the question is, what is “the perfect heart” and how do I have one?
The perfect heart is one characterized by intense and wholehearted consecration to God’s will. His Word is as “a burning fire shut up in our bones” (Jer. 20:9b) and we cannot rest when we feel we’re grieving His Holy Heart.
Even more, the perfect heart “delights to do God’s Will by hiding His Word within” (Ps. 40:8; 119:11). It is singular in purpose, priority and passion (Mt. 6:33) as it “forgets those things which are behind and presses forward for the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
Having such a heart requires a thorough “soul-searching” by the Holy Spirit (Ps. 139:23-24) and absolute surrender on our part. Lukewarmness and mediocrity cannot co-exist in a perfect heart of love. We must “cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring every thought into the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5) as we “refuse to be conformed to this world and are instead transformed by the renewing of our mind so we can be living proof of the good, acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Is yours a “perfect heart,” Pilgrim? If not, ask the Spirit to begin one in you today.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 4, 2009