We’ve all heard those sayings, like this one: “I had good intentions!” Or how about this one? “The road to hell is paved with (good intentions!). That last one is a harsh one, in today’s society! Saying things like that could get you in big trouble!
Check out these words concerning the choice of David for the next King:
The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7
I was in church about three years ago, and I heard a woman say to another person, “I heard that minister didn’t even go to ministry school, He just preaches!” She was all aghast. I also remember my reaction which was to think, “So?” I pondered the disciples who became Apostles in the bible, and how they followed Jesus, learned of him, and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. They turned the world upside down, every one of them, without a “degree.”
Fast forward now, to me sitting with a pastor’s wife, who said something like this: “Man does look at the outward appearance.” I realized at that moment, I had only pondered the second half of that passage, for most of my Christian life.
You see……I had been telling her I didn’t understand why I am now in Bible College, pursuing a degree. I said “I felt like the Lord wants me to do this, but I don’t understand why. Well? Man looks (at credentials) … God wants me equipped (for EVERY good work) And if it means a degree……I will not say no to him!
God does look at the heart, yes, over and above our (outside) appearance. He looks at intents, and our motives too. What God wants for us is first, and foremost, over what man thinks we ought to do (yes!). But we do have to keep in mind “our ministry” will be affected by how we look to others. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t need any “rebels without a cause” running around snubbing their nose at those who want to clean up their act, on the outside, as well as on the inside.
I’ve lost track of how many times I have heard this statement: “You’re a people pleaser!”
Really? They don’t know me. I (at times) do appear that way. What they don’t know is, I used to despise people! (before I met Jesus) and for those who really know me, they know I used to not care a bit what anyone thinks (about me). In fact, I went out of my way sometimes to let people know how much I didn’t care (what they thought).
If I appear that way, it’s because I am intent on not losing any opportunity to get across God’s message (of love, mercy, healing, and grace!). I do not have to prove I care, or that I don’t care. God knows my heart. The crux of this message is to say this: WE need to know the motives of our own hearts! If we know why we do what we do, We’ll always have a ready answer for those who ask……
“Father I thank and praise you that you look at our hearts first, and not the outside appearance. However I do thank you also, that you get around to helping us clean up our act. You do clean the outside (and the inside) OF US so that we are more useful and Holy (set apart) for the great works you want to do for us. In Jesus’ name!” Amen!