Sunday, June 18, 2017: God Knows More About You Than Google

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

What Our Search Histories Say About Us

I have to confess, I’m a total podcast junkie. I’m always on the hunt for something interesting to listen to.

Knowing this, a friend recently recommended I listen to an episode of a podcast produced by NPR. In it, a former data scientist for Google named Seth Stephens-Davidowitz was interviewed. Stephens-Davidowitz explains how Google has given a good deal of its attention to something called data mining, by which they’re constantly collecting information about people based on their web activity. “You do learn a lot about people that’s very different from what they say,” he states.

Taken together, this information produces “a map that reveals our collective hopes, fears, and desires,” as the podcast put it. In other words, the tech companies whose products we frequently use know an awful lot about us. They’re compiling information about people’s sexual preferences, racial biases, sense of humor, entertainment choices, and the questions they’re too embarrassed to ask others. You might say that they know more about us than we know (or are willing to admit) about ourselves. Yet, as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz rightly observes, the disparity between who people claim to be and what’s in their search history reveals something significant about who they really are.

While they may not surprise us, facts like this still weird us out. That’s understandable. For if the saying is true, that knowledge is power, Google possesses significant power over us. After all, they may very well know us better than our friends and family–maybe even better than we know ourselves. That’s more than enough to make autonomous, privacy-loving westerners like us a bit nervous.

Fully Known And Yet Perfectly Loved

However, as Christians we must realize that Google and its data-mining power pale in comparison to God’s power to search and know the depths of our hearts. Just listen to what the psalmist has to say concerning God’s sovereignty over every thought, word, feeling, and moment of life:

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,

behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:1-4)

These words serve as a powerful reminder that there is no data scientist that can know about us what God knows. You see, so much about who we are as people remains hidden from others. In fact, there are things about us—things at the deepest interiority of our being—that we do not even know about ourselves. But the Lord knows it all. This is why the psalmist, knowing that he lacked the capacity to discern the extent of his own errors before a holy God, prayed elsewhere, “Declare me innocent from hidden faults” (Ps. 19:12). Although our hearts are incredibly illusive to us, God has the sovereignty and wisdom to search them and know them fully (see Jer. 17:9-10, quoted above).

For believers, this knowledge about God leads us to discover an astounding reality—that even though the Lord knows who we truly are, He does not love us any less (John 2:25, 13:1). (That’s such good news; maybe you need to go back and read that sentence again before moving on.)

If we’re honest, when it comes to our relationships with other people, we’ve all occasionally wondered something along the lines of, “If they only knew about some of the thoughts and feelings I have—if they could see what’s inside of me—they would no longer love or respect me.” But with God we never have to wonder about that. He already knows everything there is to know about us. And yet, in Christ He is one-hundred percent committed to us. Which means that, even at our ugliest moments, He will never get tired of us or have second thoughts about us.

God’s commitment to us also means that He is dead-set on transforming us in Christ. He hasn’t saved us to leave us where we are—stuck in our mess of sin and ungodliness— to eek out our existence until we get to heaven. No, He is faithful to love, nurture, and establish us in the Gospel now. In fact, His Spirit is working ’round the clock to conform us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18). The apostle Paul put it this way, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

Therefore no matter how sinful your thoughts, how ungodly your attitude, or how bent out of shape your feelings, God in Christ will not abandon you. To be sure, He will search you and test you to expose those things in you which remain unaligned with His will and purpose for your life. And make no mistake, it will be painful and uncomfortable. But be assured that it will never be to shame or condemn you; rather it is always to transform you for your good and His glory.

So while Google can read our search history, only God can read our hearts and love us perfectly. Therefore let’s surrender to Him and welcome His transforming grace. Let’s not be afraid to allow Him to point to certain areas of our lives and say, “You’re not surrendered to Me there. You’re holding on tight to that idol. And you don’t realize what it’s doing to you. Come to Me and I will deliver you from that. Let me help you repent and I will draw you more deeply into my love, where you’ll find more security, joy, and glory than you can imagine.” You can start down that road now by praying sincerely with the psalmist,

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)

In addition to that kind of praying, the gathered worship of God’s church is an important way that God searches us and leads us to surrender fully to Him. For this reason, we’re introducing a new song in LifePoint’s gathered worship called Judge Of The Secrets. Its lyrics speak about God in Christ as the holy Judge who knows our hearts and exposes our sin. But it also speaks of Him as being our defense and our righteousness who takes away our condemnation by repentance and faith in Christ. Therefore, I want to encourage you to take this song to heart and commit its words to memory as the Lord’s Day approaches. Toward that end, a performance video, lyrics, and a link to download the song from iTunes can be found directly below.

O holy Judge, here is my heart
What can I say to You?
How could I run? Where could I hide?
Darkness is day to You
The heart of a man is a maze within
So come light the way, illuminate sin
Nothing’s concealed; all is revealed
Jesus, I yield to You

Judge of the secrets of the hearts of men
Here I surrender and humbly repent
You’ve conquered my soul, now be its defense
Judge of the secrets of the hearts of men

I was condemned under Your law
Rightly I stood accused
I felt my need, my conscience agreed
I was without excuse
So how can I judge the ones who fall?
I know in my heart I’m just like them all
I will confess my righteousness
Jesus, must rest in You

O holy Judge, here is my heart
What can I say to You?
I will not run, I will not hide
I know I’m safe with You

Songs for Sunday, June 18, 2017:

Our Song from Age to Age

Grace Alone

Judge Of The Secrets

All I Have Is Christ

My Life Is An Offering

About Tyler Greene (180 Articles)
Tyler Greene is the Associate Pastor of Worship Ministries for LifePoint Church in Ozark, MO.

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