We are surrounded by inventions of modern technology that amaze and attract us. These include devices that give us pause and cause us to hearken back to a time when folks would scratch their heads and say, “Who would have thought it?”

Facial recognition must surely be among these “who-would-have-thought-it” devices. Its use in security and law enforcement is making rapid advancements. But, on a personal level, who wants a cell phone that recognizes a finger print when one is available with facial recognition.
While recollection of names is a much sought after ability, knowing someone’s heart is a different matter altogether. When emphasizing our reliance upon the Spirit to reveal the mind of God, the apostle Paul used us as examples, saying, “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11). We can truly know others only to the extent that they accurately reveal themselves to us. But, even as others open themselves up to us, we need to remember that each of us are engaged in a constant struggle to understand ourselves, much less those around us. Jeremiah spoke to the issue, saying, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:10). The prophet goes on to identify the Lord as the One who searches the heart (vs. 11).

Beyond facial recognition is heart recognition. Aside from referencing that fist-sized organ in the chest cavity that pumps blood throughout the body, we can only judge a person’s heart by evaluating their speech and behavior. Jesus said, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit” (Mt. 12:33).

Heart recognition, in its fullest sense, is the business of the Father. He “sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). On the Last Day, the Lord will judge with perfect knowledge “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hb. 4:12). In accordance with the gospel, He “will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Rm. 2:16; Jn. 12:48). With such awareness, let us pray with David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” (Ps. 51:10). And, again, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23–24). Heart recognition. Knowing Him or, rather, to be known by Him and welcomed into our eternal home—that will be the greatest “who-would-have-thought-it” moment of all!

–Glen Elliott–