If you haven't noticed lately, there is a serious lack of godly men and women in our culture today. A man or woman after God's own heart is a rare find in the midst of the mediocrity and outright perverseness which permeates our culture. America lacks people who are sold out to God and who follow Him with their all. If America is ever going to experience revival again, it will be because of the select few who are entirely sold out to God and to His plans.
Several months ago I had the opportunity to speak to my youth group. I talked about David and some of the major characteristics that earned David the title "A man after God's own heart." There wasn't a secret, or mystical recipe to David's closeness with God. But there were several things that David obviously knew, which many in America today, including many Christians, apparently don't know, or at least fail to acknowledge.
David had the Spirit of the Lord. That may seem obvious, but it's an essential characteristic of David's godly life. In fact in 1 Samuel 16, when Samuel anoints David king over Israel, the Bible says the the Spirit rushed mightily upon David - some versions of the Bible translate this word benignly as "The Spirit came upon David", but the actual meaning of the Hebrew word (צלח) is to be strong, effective, or powerful. So this verse lets us know that the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in a mighty and effective manner, enabling him to serve God in powerful ways throughout his life, accomplishing things that he wouldn't have been capable of without God's Spirit.
One verse later, we hear that the Spirit departs from king Saul. Saul's torment at having lost the Holy Spirit is so terrible that David is called in to play the harp to soothe Saul's soul. During this experience, David gets a firsthand look at what a life looks like when the Spirit of the Lord has departed from it. And it obviously leaves an impression.
Years later after David committed his terrible sin with Bathsheba, he cried out to God, recorded in Psalm 51, with these words: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me." You see, David knew exactly what would happen to a person who had the power from the Holy Spirit, then lost that power and effectiveness; he had seen the effects of losing the Holy Spirit firsthand.
We must acknowledge and accept the Holy Spirit. Without Him, we are helpless, tossed about by the tides of current events.
Life of unabashed praise. We see David's life of praise come to life all throughout the Psalms. Even in times of hardship when David feels like he has no way out, he cries out with praise to God. Probably the most illustrative example we see of this in the Bible is in II Samuel when David is leaping and dancing before the Ark of the Covenant as it is brought into Jerusalem. Even though he is king of all Israel, and he has a reputation to keep, David is not afraid to become undignified before his Lord and Creator.
That story should serve as a good reminder for us since we live in such an appearance and reputation-centered culture. There is absolutely nothing wrong in becoming undignified in our worship to God, whether that worship is borne out through singing or through service to the spiritually and materially needy. In fact, there is great wrong in worrying about how others perceive us, and consequently not developing lives of praise.
David was by no means perfect through his whole life, but he is called "A man after God's own heart." I don't know about you, but I want to be remembered as someone who was a man after God's own heart. If enough men and women follow after God no matter the cost, there is no end to what can be accomplished in this world.