Scripture: 1 Sam 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Observation: God looks through all the outward appearances, whether good or bad and sees the heart of each of us.
Application: When I was younger and felt called into the ministry, around the age of seventeen, I (like many young people) had a bit of a rebellious spirit about me. I admit it wasn’t as rebellious as some of my friends, but it was there. My wife says that now I have a passive rebellious spirit, and I like to be rebellious, as long as it’s ok with everyone. Maybe that’s her nice way of saying, my rebellious days have went by the wayside. And that may or may not be a good thing.
I know why I started losing the rebelliousness; I felt that I would be taken more serious, and that the message that God had put on my heart would be heard and accepted by more people if I were to shake off some of the antisocial behavior that I had adopted.
Mostly I just let my hair grow a little longer than most, wore bright colored clothes and refused to wear dress shoes, or a tie. That was the bulk of my rebellion in those younger years. I actually got better at it when I started running from my calling to the ministry, but that was more of a denial than a rebellion, and is a whole other story that I’ll save for another time.
However, the point that I was trying to make with those little rebellious things, was and still is valid I think. What I was trying to say with my appearance and clothing was that God doesn’t care what we look like on the outside as long as our hearts were ok on the inside. Outer appearances often fail to properly represent a person’s heart. Even our outer actions sometimes fail to do so. We may look like an outlaw but really be a teddy bear when it comes to the heart. On the other hand, we may look like a saint but at the same time have a demon raging inside. We may act as though we have it all together, but inside we may be falling apart. We may be friendly in our outward demeanor but inside be raging and filled with hate. Christians are notorious for this really – we put on a good show when we are around other Christians and people who we want to think well of us. We are so afraid of letting them see the real Heart of the matter.
We fuss and fight all the way into the parking lot of the Church, then step out and exude love and grace and mercy to all, while still giving the ones we love the most an evil glance now and then, and that look that says “wait till we get home!” No wonder our young people who have grown up in the Church sometimes fall away and see what we do as superficial and without real meaning. It would be good I think for us to allow ourselves to show a little more of our human sides, and be able to not worry so much about how we are going to be perceived by the other Christians around us. We are all just people, doing the best that we can to serve God and live a life of faith.
I know its been worn out, but its really true that Christians aren’t perfect, they’re just forgiven. We need to remember that, and learn to be accepting of that fact to those around us who we call our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Or we can go on putting on the show, putting the good foot forward, keeping up appearances. But God is not fooled, and He knows our hearts. He doesn’t look at the outward parts, He looks within and its from there that we are broken, changed, forgiven, lifted up, and saved.
You know my heart, you know the deepest parts of me that I have even hidden away from myself. Cleanse me and make me true to you, and true to those around me. Let me be transparent and forthright in my acknowledgement of my own frailties and faults. Help me to exude not my own goodness, but rather your glory, grace, and power.
Yield: I give up my need to keep up appearances. (Help me Lord!)