The Lord Looks at the Heart

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

How easy it is for us to emphasize outward appearance. We spend hours on finding the right clothes, fixing our hair the right way, or making sure our muscles stay firm. These efforts are often fun. . . . It’s honoring to God to take care of the body that he has given us, but it’s easy to feel enslaved to it as well.

Although we delight in taking care of ourselves, its important to give proper emphasis to beauty and appearance. We can easily become consumed with how we appear before others. Whether its spending time and energy on clothes and hair or carefully crafting an Instagram picture that will make us appear beautiful and happy, we want others to think we’ve got our lives together. The truth is that no one has it together. At the heart level, we are all needy, helpless people who need God’s grace to shape our hearts and minds.

What’s more difficult is to be honest and real about our struggles, to share our true neediness without worrying what another person will think. This honesty with others is always a risk, because we aren’t sure if they’ll still like us if they really know our true thoughts.

In contrast, God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our needs, hopes, desires, and failures, and yet continues to love us dearly. What’s truly amazing is that the Bible tells us that God looks at the heart first. He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139), and he delights in the heart that he has made. He knows all of our sin and need, and yet loves us and delights in us.

We don’t have to get everything together and then come to him, but rather we can come to him in our need, knowing that he will always be gracious and merciful to his children.

For Further Reading: Psalm 139:13-18, 23, 24

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