Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my thoughts."
David, in Psalm 139:23
Since we have entered into that time when God is "taking peace from the earth", we are being searched by our fellow creatures more frequently and more thoroughly than at any time in human history. But man will never be able to search us as well as God does. Men search us to find out things. God searches us to show us things about ourselves.
When God "searches the hearts and minds", it is obviously not so that He can find out what is in us; He already knows that and everything else. After Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, God came into the garden calling out, "Where are you Adam?" Do you really suppose that God did not know where the man was hiding? Or when God asked Cain, "Where is your brother?", are we to believe that God was ignorant of the whereabouts of the murdered Abel? Of course not. God searches us so that we may know ourselves. In referring to God "searching the heart", the Biblical writers meant "trying and revealing the heart", and God does that for us all the time.
Solomon said, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly" (Prov. 20:27). This means that the Lord uses people to try your spirit, so that you may know who you really are. He sends people your way who are needy, to show you the compassion that is in your heart. He moves people in authority to disappoint you, so that you may see if you have learned to respond to pain like a dove instead of like a serpent. He sends people to you to give you success so that you can discover if your heart can be puffed up by earthly things. He puts people in your life who love you, so that you can learn to be humble enough to be loved. He puts people in your life who hate you, so that you can see if your heart has learned to trust God in all things. God gives you authority over others to bring to light whether or not you are just. God gives authority to others over you to bring to light whether you are dutiful.
God uses people to search people, to show people who they really are. He does this daily, and He does it well. He is using me to search your heart right now. Who else has God used today to try your heart? A small child? A spouse? A telephone operator? A news reporter? You can rest assured that whoever you have seen or heard today has been used by God to one extent or another to search your heart – for your good, not His.