The heart posture is the root of every thought, desire, ambition, goal… that leads to anything done. I reckon — actually, in truth, I know — that from God’s perspective, it’s not only about “what we do”; it’s more importantly about the “why” of it… on a ‘kini koko-ọrọ nkan t’a n se?’… meaning: what’s the basis of what we’re doing?
I’ve been thinking a lot on Sincerity of Purpose (SOP) this past month and my days! How the Lord has been unraveling me. The thing is, He knows! ‘C’est fini’! I’m unsure why we like to make like He doesn’t know or is caught unawares by us… and before we even think to think, know, speak or do a thing. Perhaps we forget because somewhere way rear in our faculties, we still think He is bound by or subject to our human nature. Might I suggest we sticky note it in our physical and spiritual membranes that God is Spirit and subhead that those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit, truth and please Him only by faith.
So yeah, regarding thinking on SOP and my unraveling which is still in effect as I’m enabled to type; it’s criticality can’t be overstated and must be addressed prior to the purpose itself rather than after the fact. Because one can very much do a thing that others might deem nice or harmless but have at the root of — or behind it —, a completely opposite agenda.
Allow me explain using a relatable SOP analogy. You know how we do this thing where we haven’t been in touch with a person for a good minute and need something from them, but we don’t want to be obvious or somehow in asking. So we reach out to them once or twice just to save face before we now reach out the third time about the actual thing we needed in the first place. You know this behaviour? Yeah, I think it’s just wrong, super manipulative and disingenuous… however if we get away with fooling people with this behaviour, we can’t fool God with it.
In understanding SOP using a Bible story, think David and the census he took. Many mightn’t see the wrong in what he did because that’s literally how we take stock and plan for provision or sustainability in today’s era, censuses; … even other people in biblical times took censuses. Regardless of that fact, it wasn’t a custom God wanted for the Israelites. “But why won’t God require one to do what needs to be done in order to plan?”, you ask. Because He is Jireh — Provider as well as Sustainer. So essentially, taking a census meant — potentially could still mean — that whoever was doing it felt they could take on the role of Jireh for themselves and as such, won’t have needed to depend on God. If they had an estimate of the population, then they’d be able to project how much strength they had in numbers, their resources, their GDP etc. Which would automatically grant them a wealthy status of some sort based off of these projections.
It’s clear that the root of David taking the decision to count the people of Israel lay in him thinking he could provide and sustain. One might consider “how else was one expected to think after being at the vice-helm of so many illogical victories that semi began from the liberation of a formerly-free enslaved people from bondage, and led to their accumulation of spoils, acquisition of territory and slaves?”. To this, God says “just because I enable you win battles, liberate you, allow you take spoils and acquire things doesn’t make you Battle Owner, Wearer of Victor’s Crown, Liberator, and Spoils-Territory-Slaves Acquisitor. Things had clearly gone full circle and David in his heart must’ve postured and thought “I — instead of God — ’ve got the power!”. That’s why God saw wrong in what he did.
Scripture clearly states the enemy incited David to demand that the census be conducted…. he’s always the brain behind everything God considers sin. That’s why he is referred to as cunning and deceitful. That’s why we ought to remember the heart is deceitful and it’s posture is key. That’s why can’t allow ourselves be ignorant or unaware of the scams he will always try to play on our hearts. Original yahoo boy, the enemy.
If in all — as in all that God desires and wills for us, all that He deems as pleasing to Him — we intend and do, we must acknowledge, glorify and worship God; then it means that He must have provided a better way for us to do what we intend to do. It means that David could’ve decided to take the way he was feeling to God like he did whenever he sought God before every battle. That might’ve pleased God and been credited to him as acknowledging and giving God the glory that’s His. If God won’t allow us be tempted beyond our ability to resist, it means that Joab’s advice against the census was David’s way out of heeding the enemy’s incitement.
When we consider SOP prior to the purpose rather than after the fact, when we present our wanting to do to God, what happens is: Holy Spirit helps us sift through our reasoning so that we get to the sincerity of it when measured against the Word’s standard. That way, from the onset, He can give us pure hearts — God’s heart — for what we want to do. And then He can help us avoid veering left with it.
I imagine You searching all hearts Lord, finding every desire that’s not You and taking them away till all that’s left is You.
2 Samuel 24
1 Chronicles 21