Perhaps you’ve heard it said that King David was a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam.13:14). Sometimes when we focus only on David’s greatest sins, we struggle to see how this was so. But it’s helpful to also call to mind those times when David was firing on all cylinders for God.
He has much to teach us about how to have a vibrant relationship with God. There are at least a half-dozen qualities David exhibited at his best which any follower of Christ should imitate. Here’s the first one:
David made sure that he sought God daily.
We know more about David’s devotional life than about anyone else in all of Scripture, because David wrote about it in the psalms. He’s the one who told us to mediate on God’s Word day and night, for then we would become like a tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1). He’s the one who told us to seek after God in prayer like a deer panting for water (Psalm 63). He’s the one who told us to find godly people and make them our heroes, and our companions (Psalm 16). He’s the one who told us to sing to the Lord with all our hearts (Psalm 9).
Bible study, prayer, fellowship, worship – these are the life-giving, essential disciplines of a mighty man or woman of God. Apply yourselves daily to these practices, and you will flourish. Neglect them, you will wither. Why?
Because these are the disciplines that connect you directly to Jesus. These are the practices that allow you, like a branch, to tap into Him, the Vine. These habits allow your Lord’s life and power to flow into you, which sets the whole engine for transforming your life into motion. These are the disciplines that allow God to speak into your life, direct your steps, encourage your heart, strengthen your spirit. But once you stop this, you’ve just muzzled God, and all bets are off.
The very worst thing you can do when you feel no hope, or see no light, is to close up your Bible, seal up your lips, stop going to church, and throw away your Christian music. No one becomes a holier, happier soul by drifting from God.
But if you seek him with all your heart through these holy disciplines, God will break through for you, I promise. David promises. “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong; and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14)
No one becomes a holier, happier soul by drifting from God.
I can show you in my quiet time notebooks written throughout the past 30 years how God led me to verse and verse after verse which spoke directly to whatever challenge I was facing, whether I was fighting against anger or lust or depression or grief. It’s happened so many times that I doubt I will ever doubt him again. (Though I’m infected enough with sin that yes, I still can turn from him.)
And it will happen for you too, but you must open the book, bow the knee, sit on the pew. Jesus will turn no one away on the last day because they did x, y, or z wrong. Jesus will say but one thing: I never knew you. In other words: you never sought me; we never had a relationship.
You were made by God. And for God. Don’t miss your life’s highest purpose by refusing to seek your Maker.
So imitate David, for in this he truly was a man after God’s own heart.