“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
This verse was in my reading this morning and really got me thinking. It is a source of both comfort and trepidation for me. On one hand, I am so thankful that God does not judge me by how I look. He loves me whether or not I have fashion sense, a bad hair day, or that zit on my chin that will not go away. He also doesn’t judge my worth based on my performance – how I did at work today, how good the meal was that I made, or even how focused I was during my morning Bible reading. No, God looks at the attitudes of my heart.
And here is the trepidation – I know what is in my heart sometimes. I know the judgment I pass on others’ appearance or performance, the selfish or hurtful thoughts that go through my mind (and sometimes across my lips), and the tendency toward sin that is ever-present. And I tremble at the thought of it all being laid bare before the Lord, who is holy beyond imagining. I am vulnerable and helpless to defend myself, for I have no excuse. I know better.
Yet there is some freedom in being fully known. No longer do I have to keep up the act, the performance that I do for other people. No more masks, no more façade. There is no need, for all is seen and known. So, I’m left with just me. And somehow that brings a measure of relief and even peace.
I also trust that God has forgiven me for those stains on my heart, and Christ has washed me clean. God no longer sees those blemishes. Instead, He sees my potential – how I will be when He is finished working in me.
And because He is so focused on the attitudes of my heart, His work starts at the heart and slowly becomes evident outwardly in my actions. This has been a cause of frustration for me as I pray for God to change me and wait to see the visible results. Often, this takes a long time because He has so much work to do in my heart first! But, my desire is for there to be less of an inconsistency between my inward me and my outward me. So, I wait for God to do His work.
There is a wonderful song called “From the Inside Out” by Hillsong United that expresses my desire. Here are some of the lyrics and a Youtube video of the song.
A thousand times I’ve failed
Still Your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
I’m caught in Your grace
Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
My heart and my soul, I give You control
Consume me from the inside out, Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love you from the inside out.
This post is part of Amy’s challenge to find the Finer Things in life.