In the story of Jesus’s appearance to Paul on the way to Damascus, it is impressive how much Jesus knows about Paul’s inner state.
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:5)
To all outward appearances, Paul was as staunch an enemy of the fledgling church as the Jewish leaders would hope for. And yet, Jesus knew 1) Paul’s heart had been pricked multiple times, 2) that Paul was fighting his own inclinations as well as the church, and 3) it was hard for Paul to continue that fight.
It may be that Paul needed the Lord to tell him, “I know what’s going on in your heart and head, so stop putting on such a front.”
This is a great reminder that the Lord knows our hearts. He knows what we’re inclined to do, He knows when we’re putting on a front. He knows why and what the effect of it is on us. Paul was a case of one who needed to follow his good inclinations and not fight them. The Lord also knows when we are covering up bad inclinations and need to fight them more and achieve spiritual change.
I’m thankful to know that the Lord knows my heart. It gives me a reason to be careful about my thoughts and attitudes. But I’m also thankful that He is merciful and long-suffering and gives me the mental space to work through things.