Question: "How can I know the heart of God?"
Answer: The heart refers to the central part of a person. The heart is the nature of a person, and to know the heart of someone is to know that person’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations (see Proverbs 4:23 and 16:1). The heart of God is the essence of who He is, what He desires, His will, and His purposes. By reading the Bible, knowing Jesus, and spending time in prayer, a person can know the heart of God.
The Word of God reveals the heart of God. To know the heart of God, a person must read His Word, for that is God’s revelation of Himself and His message to all. People read autobiographies about celebrities to get an idea of who they “really are.” Historians read journals and letters from people in history to understand what their life was like and what influenced and motivated them. In a more profound way, the Lord has given us His Word so that we can know Him. By reading the Bible, a person can know the heart of God because Scripture was divinely breathed out by Him (2 Timothy 3:16). From Genesis to Revelation, the entire Bible speaks of God and reveals who He is and what He is like. Reading the Bible merely to gain facts about God will not bring a person any closer to the heart of God (see John 5:39). Instead, reading Scripture should cause a person to worship and love Him.
Studying Jesus reveals the heart of God. Anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father (John 14:9). No one can truly know the heart of God without knowing and trusting in Jesus for salvation. Jesus Christ revealed the Father, for “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15, ESV). Since Jesus and the Father are one, Christ visually represents the heart of God, the essence of who He is (John 10:30). Jesus dying for the sins of the world and being resurrected to bring life to those who believe in Him vividly presents the love, judgment, and mercy of God (John 3:16). In Christ we see God as the Savior of mankind who desires all to come to know Him and experience the salvation He offers (2 Peter 3:19).
Prayer reveals the heart of God. Spending time with the Lord in prayer assists in knowing His heart. Just as a child must spend time with his father to know him personally, so we also must spend time with God in prayer to know Him more deeply. The first part of James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Spending time alone with God in prayer will encourage a deeper relationship and create a greater intimacy between us and God, in which our desires will become more aligned with His.
Seeking to know the heart of God is a serious endeavor, as knowing Him will change a person’s entire life. The more a person learns and knows about the Lord, the more he or she will long for Him and declare with the psalmist, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1, NLT).